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IFEES // PBL, Sustainable Development Goals and Engineering Education: Promises and Challenges

This webinar is from the IFEES-GEDC webinar library.

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) provide a framework for concrete actions to achieve a more sustainable world by 2030. World leaders have compromised with SDGs agenda by prioritising relevant SDGs and implementing strategies at national, regional and local levels.

Consequently, the SDGs are gaining visibility in, for example, higher education institution strategies and funding opportunities. Educating for sustainability by addressing the SDGs is not only about being able to know and to do, but also being able to act and to be.

Therefore, educating engineers for the SDGs must have sustainability principles embedded, where students not only acquire knowledge and competences (i.e. to know and to do), but also build a mind-set and professional identity aligned with them (i.e. to act and to be). 

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It calls, for example, for interdisciplinary collaboration, contextual learning, complex problem solving, strategic and systems thinking, flexibility and adaptability. Educating engineers for the SDGs requires student-centred, transformative and problem oriented learning environments to develop the aforementioned competences. Problem Based Learning (PBL) is one of the learning methodologies capable to educate engineers for a highly specialised and volatile profession and for the SDGs. PBL is a student-centred, collaborative learning methodology, where students learn by solving real life problems. PBL emerge from practice in the late 60’s and 70’s with aim to educate medical graduates and engineers with ready to use professional skills.


Today, PBL is one of the learning methodologies used to educate for sustainability due to an overlapping of learning principles. This is one of the promises of PBL as methodology to address the SDGs. However, educating for the SDGs also requires a change mind-set and praxis; it requires, for example, that teachers and students integrate SDGs in alignment with their disciplinary fields, variation of problems and projects. This change of mind-set and praxis constitute a challenge for PBL and SDGs integration in engineering curriculum.


This webinar addresses the promises and challenges PBL comprises in addressing the SDGs in engineering education. It will start by looking into the SDGs and the main existent challenges to integrate them in engineering education, following by in which ways PBL can support the integration of SDGs in engineering curriculum and in overcoming some of the existent challenges.

Enrolled: 24 students
Lectures: 1
Video: 1h


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