Making The Case for Sustainable Learning: Action for Teachers of Teachers of Refugees

  • Diana Woolis
Keywords: communities of practice, sustainability,


Today’s sustainable development challenges constitute some of the most complex, large scale crisis the world has faced. Addressing them effectively requires new approaches that build on the most resilient practices of the past but also reach into the future of learning and knowledge sharing. The future is above all digitally mediated and it is human-centered. That means that the experience of people, of practitioners working in the service of sustainable development, must be understood as the core drivers and key actors. The question is not how to get them to enact other’s agenda, but to have those agendas fully informed by the knowledge of experience. The “tacit middle”, we propose, is where learning and practice connect in ways that communities can “self-determine, manage, and renew” knowledge. Executing on this future requires an explicit framework that includes standards and indicators that can assure a consistent approach with built-in quality assurance. Ultimately the Sustainable Learning Framework provides the critical and missing feedback loop that enables continuous real-time learning from experience and provides insight about progress on goals, and guides course adjustment. In this article we demonstrate that reliable methods of connecting knowledge, learning, and practice remains unrealized within and across the Sustainability Goal areas primarily because capturing and sharing experience is largely absent from current processes. We offer a conceptual framework for sustainable learning as an approach, defining its elements, provide its basis in learning theory, and illustrate with Action for Teachers of Refugees