Why active learning is crucial to engage employees around Sustainability

You may think, what’s the link between active learning and Sustainability? 

According to Cambridge “Active learning is a process that has student learning at its centre. Active learning focuses on howstudents learn, not just on what they learn. Students are encouraged to ‘think hard’, rather than passively receive information from the teacher.”

As a consultant I know that you get hired because the client doesn’t have the time or the expertise to do a specific work. However, I also realized that precious information gets “lost” to the client. 

When presenting results to clients and their employees, they are happy with the outcome – however, chances are high they will forget about the content a couple of weeks later. And that is because they have learned in a “passive way”, merely absorbing the information. 

I think this is a pity – especially when it comes to Sustainability, which is crucial for human survival on planet Earth (and therefore also crucial for the survival or any business). 

Photo by Alex Wong on Unsplash, source Standford

So one of the tools I use now when helping clients engage their employees around Sustainability is active learning.

In my experience, active learning not only increases engagement but it ensures people actually learn and remember the topics discussed. 

While I am aware that companies may not be able to run a full materiality assessment in-house, I found a way to integrate active learning in the programs I run and also the teachings I do. 

For companies I do it in a quite unconventional way, as I will have employees do a “pre-workshop assignment”, discovering by themselves (at a smaller scale of course) what usually a consultant would do, such as engaging with stakeholders and mapping Sustainability trends and what competitors are doing. You could do it in a more simple way by preparing key information and have them discover it during a workshop or an online course. 

What’s key is that employees discover these different topics by themselves – including what their company does in terms of Sustainability (which comes often as a surprise to most). 

Active learning around sustainability will already be a first steps towards creating awareness and engagement – and therefore initiating the change from within!
Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

Why is this important? 

Because active learning around sustainability will already be a first steps towards creating awareness and engagement – and therefore initiating the change from within! 

Furthermore, when you discover something and come up with an idea by yourself, you are more motivated to follow through as if it was imposed to you. 

When I helped one of my clients on their first sustainability roadmap, it was the work and input from a whole team (not only mine – an external consultant – and that of the CEO) that resulted in an action plan for every participant. 

While some employees might be more motivated than others to work on sustainability issues in their daily jobs, giving actually the opportunity to participate in the process  – for example through active learning – is key and will increase awareness, engagement and willingness to take action!

What are your thoughts on active learning? 

Have you used it to engage employees on Sustainability? 

Leave a comment below with 1 key insight from this article!

Like and share to inspire others! 

If you want more ideas on how to engage employees on your Sustainability journey, download the free guide “5 steps to activate positive impact from within”

Written by Marena Eirich, founder of teams4purpose®. My mission is to make action on Sustainability accessible to employees. 

#EmbraceSustainability #sustainability #positiveimpact #impact #engagement #empowerment #empowering #purpose #purposedriven #stepup #climatechange #climateaction #CSR #CorporateSocialResponsibility  #teams4purpose #activelearning

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