Fostering inner dimensions for sustainability in higher education

young people running
Photo: oneinchpunch /

Current and future generations face complex, pressing sustainability challenges. There is an urgent need for education of future decision-makers that is oriented towards developing competences – knowledge, skills, inner dimensions – tailored to solving these challenges. The inner dimensions of learners – their mindsets, including individual and collective values, beliefs, worldviews, and associated inner qualities and capacities – are an important vehicle for critical, improved education for sustainability.

However, current higher education teaching mainly focuses on knowledge and skills transmission emphasizing cognitive competences. What is missing are actionable teaching-and-learning approaches that foster the inner dimensions of learners.

Pioneering teaching-and-learning approaches

Led by CDE, this project brings together eight leading higher education institutions and academies dealing with the topic of sustainability and holistic teaching and learning. With a view to pioneering teaching-and-learning, it focuses on inner dimensions and promotes inner transformation for sustainability.

The project partners are jointly developing an online toolkit for corresponding teaching-and-learning approaches. The toolkit is designed to inspire lecturers from higher education institutions in all partner countries and beyond to integrate these teaching-and-learning approaches in their university teaching.

Additionally, the project aims to build a vibrant international network focused on raising awareness of the importance of learners’ inner dimensions in higher education for sustainability and pushing the sustainability agenda in university teaching.

Project activities

  • Thematic exchange and analysis of innovative teaching-and-learning approaches aimed at fostering inner dimensions. Identification of the needs of lecturers and higher education institutions in this field.
  • Piloting of innovative teaching-and-learning approaches in the respective institutions, fostering dialogue about them and making necessary adaptations.
  • Synthesis of the experiences of piloting and self-reflection of the teaching formats, and consolidation of the results in a toolkit tailored to higher education lecturers. The toolkit will be made available online, including guidelines, easy steps, and recordings to promote use of the toolkit website.