Sustainability from the Transdisciplinary Perspective: An Action Research Strategy for Continuing Education Program Development

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Abstract

The need to focus on a transdisciplinary approach in education for sustainable development (EDS) has been reflected in research and especially action research as a possible solution, which can open a new perspective for understanding and interpretation of the complex phenomenon of sustainability as well as for developing new open continuing education programmes by integrating research and learning activities in the context of open transdisciplinary research.

The content structure of the article: (1) it describes the experience that has evolved at one faculty and its subordinate scientific institute and has been proposed to be used within the entire institution; (2) it generalises issues arising from the extensive experience, which in action research manifest themselves as issues relating to the appropriate perspective choice in terms of sustainability, approaches that in education make it possible to understand the sustainability phenomenon, as well as features that help identify sustainability at different levels. Well-known cases in the history of science, philosophy of science, and systems development research have been used to highlight the relationship among the dynamic interaction of complex problems that can systematically appear as sustainable or unsustainable. Therefore, the article provides insight into a specific relationship among science development, integration and Anthropocene phenomena with sustainability / non-sustainability phenomena and their interaction; (3) it offers the experience necessary for the creation of participatory action research ideas and research base to expand the cooperation of university and its graduates using a stakeholder approach and connecting it with a transdisciplinary research framework, which envisages an activity around the sustainability phenomenon and its deep relationship to the openness for the evolution of sustainability consciousness as concerns individuals and societies; (4) it describes the first three activities of the first phase of the undertaken action research, which allowed determining the participants’ motivation to take part in the action research, identifying participants’ attitude and understanding sustainability and Anthropocene phenomena, as well as establishing a strategic vision of open transdisciplinary framework benefits and opportunities through participatory action research to develop open evolutionary study programs for continuing education, which would extend and deepen the cooperation of university and its graduates for social innovation creation and achieving quality education for sustainable development by reorienting the society and education towards sustainability and sustainable development.

The present article aims at establishing an open transdisciplinary research framework, which is necessary for undertaking action research, and outlining a strategic vision for developing continuing education programs in the participatory action research that will help reorient continuing education to sustainable development.

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