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This project introduces Phenomenon Based Learning as an effective pedagogic vehicle to build on the Education for Sustainable Development Guidance published by AdvanceHE and QAA.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared wellbeing plan to future-proof prosperity. It comprises 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enabling translation into action at many levels. The SDG Education (Goal 4) is seen as an accelerator for effective implementation of all Goals.


Globally, higher education providers are considering integration and translation of these demands into effective learning experiences and SDG 4.7 has significance for the sector: 

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.


The Academic Strategy 2030 at University of Staffordshire is modelled on Phenomenon Based Learning, aligning deliberately with SDG 4.7 key principles. Harper Adams University, who have a strategic commitment to place climate change, sustainability and social justice at the centre of emerging course design and pedagogic methods, is currently undertaking an institutional curriculum review and developing pedagogic approaches for the future.


Having drawn upon global sources of evidence, including Universities of the Future, the aim of this project is for two providers with very different approaches to collaborate in implementing, interpreting and testing Phenomenon Based Learning within subjects and beyond, across programme areas at different academic levels.


The project team will generate an evidence-informed Project SDG 4.7 Toolkit and further Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) to support higher education providers across the sector to work with students in the co-creation and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and equitably within the curriculum, via Phenomenon Based Learning modelling.

Read the project blogs

Hear more about this project in our two blogs which delve into how phenomenon-based learning can empower students.

In the press

Our article for Times Higher Education outlines the principles of PhBL and how it can be adopted in higher education.

Twitter chat

We held a Twitter chat to find out more about what the wider community thinks about PhBL, detailed in this Wakelet:

We invited colleagues working on this project to share with us what meaningful ESD looks like from their perspective and how their work will better enable ESD.

Project lead:

Staffordshire University

Project partners:

Harper Adams University

Other Collaborative Enhancement Projects

QAA supports a number of projects every year, covering a range of topics and interest areas. Each is led by a QAA Member, working in collaboration with other members institutions. You can find more information on all projects, and access resources and outputs, on our website.