Impact of Learning for Sustainability on educational outcomes: summary

Summary of research into the impact of Learning for Sustainability on educational outcomes.


As LfS policy and practice become more widespread, a deeper understanding of the value of integrating education for sustainable development, global citizenship and outdoor learning, should emerge. However, the review concludes that whilst the Scottish approach to LfS is novel internationally, there is robust evidence of its value in attainment, personal development and environmental stewardship.

This review did not set out to examine evidence regarding the effectiveness of LfS in developing pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours, however it was a clear and significant finding, with studies highlighting the particular importance of fostering emotional connections to nature through time spent outdoors.

In terms of broader educational outcomes, the findings are significant for both policy and practice as they position LfS as an excellent context through which all aspects of CfE can flourish, enabling learners to develop and display the values and dispositions outlined in its 'four capacities'.[1] Building teacher confidence through pre-service and professional development opportunities will help them recognise and maximise the potential of LfS to contribute to these broad educational outcomes.

Further, an LfS-based, whole-setting approach, which is a key feature of Scottish Government LfS policy, offers a way to build a 'learning community'; where educators and pupils alike are encouraged and supported to work together towards a sustainable and equitable future, whilst simultaneously motivating and inspiring young people to become independent learners.



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