Toolkit

What is the CoDesignS ESD Framework about?

The CoDesignS ESD Framework provides an easy to implement pedagogic method for embedding Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in curriculum design using a co-design and co-creation approach. The CoDesignS ESD Toolkit is based on UNESCO’s key competencies for sustainability (UNESCO, 2017), the recent ESD guidelines published in the UK by QAA and Advance HE (2021) and the original CoDesignS framework (Toro-Troconis et al., 2019; Lewis, 2020).

The CoDesignS ESD Toolkit and the CoDesignS ESD Toolkit Planner have been developed to support the implementation of the CoDesigns ESD Framework, encouraging a co-creation and co-design approach (Toro-Troconis, 2021). The CoDesignS Toolkit takes the form of a set of cards and is freely available to download (see links below).

CoDesignS ESD Toolkit cards – CC BY NC ND 2.0

CoDesignS ESD Pillars

The three pillars identified in the CoDesignS ESD Framework are presented here and explained in the video presented below:

  • Key Competencies for Sustainability that are relevant to all SDGs (UNESCO, 2017) and have been classified under: Ways of Thinking, Ways of Practicing and Ways of Being in the recent ESD guidelines published by the QAA and Advance HE (2021).
  • Specific Learning Objectives for the SDGs targeting the cognitive, socio-emotional and cognitive domains to engage students in a transformative educational experience (Sipos et al., 2008; Cotton & Winter, 2010).
  • Transformative Pedagogies and Teaching Methods delivered online or in a blended learning fashion that support participation and collaboration, problem-orientation, inter and transdisciplinarity and the linking of formal and informal learning (UNESCO, 2017).

CoDesignS ESD Toolkit cards

The CoDesignS ESD Toolkit cards introduce the 3 pillars, following a 6 step approach:

Step 1: Sustainable Development Goals: The first step introduces the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Step 2: Key competencies for sustainability: The key competencies for sustainability are organised under ways of thinking, ways of practising, and ways of being, following the recent ESD guidelines published in the UK by QAA and Advance HE (2021). The second step introduces the key competencies for sustainability discussed previously. The key competencies describe the specific attributes individuals need for action and self-organisation in various complex situations tackling the SDGs and climate change issues.

CoDesignS ESD – Step 2: Key competencies for sustainability – CC BY NC ND 2.0

Step 3: Specific learning objectives for the SDGs: This step introduces the specific learning objectives for the SDGs. As discussed previously the cognitive domain (Head) comprises knowledge and thinking skills required to understand the SDGs, the socio-emotional domain (Heart) includes social skills that enable learners to collaborate, negotiate and communicate to promote the SDGs. And finally, the behavioural domain (Hands) describes action competencies.

CoDesignS ESD – Step 3: Specific learning objectives for the SDGs – CC BY NC ND 2.0

Step 4: Learning descriptors: This step introduces the learning descriptors used in the CoDesignS Toolkit. The first learning descriptors are based on The Open University Activity Types Framework used to define and visualise how learners engage with study materials, tools and technology (OU, 2021). The second learning descriptor introduces the internationally-recognized UK Professional Standards Framework (PSF) from AdvanceHE. The dimensions of the framework are used in the CoDesignS ESD cards. This means, the application of the CoDesignS ESD Toolkit can be used as evidence when applying for HEA Fellowship (AdvanceHE, 2022). To be awarded HEA Fellowship, staff must demonstrate evidence of reflective practice which enhances quality of teaching and learning.

Step 5: Key pedagogical approaches: In this step different verbs associated with the specific learning objectives for the SDGs (Cognitive, Socio-emotional and Behavioural) are presented. The verbs help identify: the domain associated with a specific learning outcome or competency and the best pedagogical approach and teaching methods. The different levels (low and high) are also mapped according to the Open University Learning Design Activity Types presented in step 4 (assimilative, finding and handling information, communicative, productive and practice) (OU, 2021).

CoDesignS ESD Key pedagogical approaches – CC BY NC ND 2.0

Step 6: Analysis of the learning: In this final step, the different learning activity types selected for the delivery of the learning episode are analyzed. The time allocated in Step 4 is reviewed then added up to estimate the time spent on the different activity types (assimilative, finding and handling information, communicative, productive and practice). Then the time allocated to the overall design is analysed in order to ensure a balanced learning experience.

CoDesignS ESD Toolkit cases

The CoDesignS ESD Toolkit cases can be applied to different scenarios, encouraging a co-creation and co-design approach among academics and disciplines, and helping to contextualize and operationalize ESD competencies and practices.

The image below presents an  example from the American University of Sharjah. The front of the card provides a general description of the case. On the left hand side the following sections are presented: 1) the SDGs targeted, in this case SDG 4: Quality  Education and SDG 5: Gender Equality. 2) the icons of the brain, heart and hand indicate this case is targeting the cognitive domain, the socio-emotional domain and the behavioural domain. 3) the codes: KC (Key Competency) 1, KC3, KC4, KC5,KC7 and KC8 represent the key competencies for sustainability embedded, in this case: systems thinking competency, critical thinking competency and so on.

The colours presented above the key competencies for sustainability identify the different learning design activity types (OU, 2021) targeted. In this case, we can see all the activity types are embedded: assimilative, finding and handling information, communicative, productive and practice. 5) Below the logs of the SDGs, the UKPSF dimensions targeted are presented: A1 to A4 and K1 to K4.

CoDesignS ESD Toolkit – Case – American University of Sharjah (Front)  – CC BY NC ND 2.0

At the back of the card further explanations are presented. This includes an explanation about how the different SDGs are embedded in this case, how the different teaching and learning activities are embedded using a participatory enquiry, action oriented approach and collaborative activities, and how different learning outcomes targeted the different domains: cognitive, socio emotional and behavioral.

CoDesignS ESD Toolkit – Case – American University of Sharjah (Back)  – CC BY NC ND 2.0

In the video below, the six steps of the CoDesignS EDS framework and the CoDesignS ESD cases are presented:

How can I access the CoDesignS ESD Toolkit cards and cases?

How can I access the CoDesignS ESD Toolkit Planner?

The CodesignS EDS Toolkit Planner with its Dashboard provides different visualisations to guide the curriculum design process. Find out about the different plans & prices.

CoDesignS ESD Toolkit Planner – Version 03 – © 2021 CoDesignS ESD

The CoDesignS EDS framework (cards and cases) are available under the Creative Common license BY-NC-ND 4.0.

The CoDesignS ESD Toolkit Planner is available under different plans via the Association for Learning Design and Education for Sustainable Development (ALDESD). Get in touch to discuss your requirements!

How can I get involved?

There are different ways of collaborating with us: you could participate in our Learning Design and ESD Bootcamp as an evaluator, guest speaker, Bootcamp mentor or committee member. Please contact us and let us know in what capacity you would like to contribute and collaborate with us.

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CoDesignS ESD is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial – Noderivatives 4.0 International License.