Transdisciplinary Learning to foster local SDG implementation

03.03.2023 As part of the UNESCO Chairs series lecture, Prof. Daniel Lang, UNESCO Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Development at Leuphana University, presented on the role of transdisciplinary learning in fostering and accelerating the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals at the local community level. The lecture was facilitated by Florian Kübler, Programme Specialist at the German Commission for UNESCO. It was the 13th in this series which began in May 2022 with the objective to share about the key research of UNESCO Chairs in Germany.

In his lecture, Prof. Lang shared his ideas about the role of transdisciplinary learning and its implementation to find solutions for sustainability-related problems in a research-based learning setting. He started explaining why local implementation of SDGs is of utmost importance for navigating sustainability transformations in a complex world.

He further explored how transdisciplinary learning makes it possible to learn from the transformation processes and provided insights to the project "Lüneburg 2030+ - Local implementation of the SDGs," as an example for a real-world laboratory. Here, city administration, students, citizens, scientists and other partners from civil society closely collaborate to find, test and implement solutions for sustainability challenges in the city of Lüneburg.

“The key idea of transdisciplinary learning is to foster societal transformation through learning processes at individual, group, and societal level" said  Prof. Lang. Transdisciplinarity is defined  as a reflexive, integrative, method-driven scientific principle aiming at the solution or trans ion of societal problems and concurrently of related scientific problems by differentiating and integrating knowledge from various scientific and societal bodies of knowledge. Through the detailed explanation, the participants learned how societal transformation could be a scientific learning process in real-world lab settings. Ultimately, Prof. Lang gave a deeper insight into the success factors of transdisciplinary learning in real-world lab settings, such as providing research-based learning, active integration, and the right balance between scientific and societal goals.

The lecture ended with Prof. Lang's thoughts on the questions raised by the participants, where he stressed the importance of collaboration between science and society to achieve sustainable development.

This article was written by Uno Tuvshinbayar, a student at Leuphana and a team member of the project P4F.

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