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Learning to Change Myself: Personal Approaches to Sustainable Consumption
A self-inquiry-based learning approach to sustainable consumption, helping students understand and challenge coping mechanisms in relation to sustained behavioral change.


By: Pascal Frank (German Environment Agency)

Session type: Multiple sessions, Undergraduate level, Medium size


  • Reflexivity exercise

  • Personal consumption


Introduction to the teaching example:

The activity's overarching goal is to help participants develop their capacities for sustainable consumption. In particular, the sessions aim to help students develop the abilities and coping strategies needed to effectively manage the affective-motivational difficulties associated with adopting sustainable consumption behaviors.


A specific study topic (such as "what are the barriers and enabling elements of altering one's consumer behavior?") directs the learning process. By actively modifying their own consumer behavior, learners are expected to personally engage in finding the answers to this issue. They first decide on a transformative project of their consumer behavior that they will work on during the seminar, and then meticulously record their own experiences with it in the form of reflective journals. The seminar sessions help students by offering theoretical insight, coaching techniques, introspective training to improve self-examination and recordkeeping, and a forum for discussions. At the conclusion of the seminar, students work in groups to uncover common patterns in their individual experiences in relation to the initial research topic. They do this by using scientific analytical techniques (such as qualitative content analysis and theme analysis). Written assessments present the findings and relate them to prior research.

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