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Special Issue "Group Processes and Mutual Learning for Sustainability"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Ralf Hansmann

Natural and Social Science Interface (NSSI), Department of Environmental Systems Science (D-USYS), Sonneggstrasse 33, CH-8092 Zürich; Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0041446326316
Interests: cultural, social, and environmental aspects of sustainability; transdisciplinarity, education and learning for sustainable development; mutual learning; group decision making for sustainable development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental problem-solving and sustainability oriented decision-making often involve discussion processes in groups that combine experts, stakeholders, politicians and citizens as for example in roundtable discussions, future workshops, or focus groups. Two important and mutually entangled aspects of such group discussions are consensus building as groups are striving for common decisions or viewpoints, and mutual learning between the group members resulting from the exchange, integration, and elaboration of viewpoints and knowledge. As individual perspectives, insights, and information are exchanged and elaborated upon, group members can gain new insights, and revise their initial ideas, opinions, preferences, norms, and values. The complexity of sustainability makes inter- and transdisciplinary communication indispensable for sustainability oriented learning and decision-making. Group discussions and consensus building processes promoting creativity and mutual learning are therefore important to facilitate sustainable development. The analysis of sustainability oriented group processes as well as the development and application of effective methods for structuring and organizing such group processes is thus crucial for promoting sustainable development and merits special interest in this Special Issue. It shall provide insights on how group processes can be organized to maximize cooperation, creativity, active participation, mutual trust and learning, and facilitate sustainable collective processes and decisions.

Dr. Ralph Hansmann
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • mutual learning
  • sustainability
  • transdisciplinarity
  • group processes
  • collective decision-making
  • consensus building
  • cooperation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Moving Universities: A Case Study on the Use of Unconferencing for Facilitating Sustainability Learning in a Swiss University
Sustainability 2011, 3(6), 875-896; doi:10.3390/su3060875
Received: 29 March 2011 / Revised: 30 May 2011 / Accepted: 14 June 2011 / Published: 17 June 2011
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (368 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Unconferencing is a method for organizing social learning which could be suitable to trigger sustainability learning processes. An unconference is defined as participant-driven meeting that tries to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as top-down organization, one-way communication and
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Unconferencing is a method for organizing social learning which could be suitable to trigger sustainability learning processes. An unconference is defined as participant-driven meeting that tries to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as top-down organization, one-way communication and power-relationships based on titles, formal hierarchies and status. This paper presents a case study on the application of unconferencing in a large Swiss university (ETH Zurich) where an unconference was conducted to engage students, academics, staff and external experts in a mutual learning process aimed at the development of project ideas for reducing its CO2 emissions. The study analyzes how the unconferencing format initiated and promoted sustainability oriented group processes during the unconference, and in how far the projects which were developed contributed to a reduction of the university’s CO2 emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Group Processes and Mutual Learning for Sustainability)

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