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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The potential for networked learning in environmental assessment teaching in Sweden

Longueville, Anna; Faith-Ell, Charlotta; Kågström, Mari


This paper explores the current teaching of Environmental assessment (EA) in Sweden. EA processes aim at identifying the potential advantages and disadvantages of a proposed action mainly applied in physical landuse planning and for the approval of projects. EA not achieving best practice has been an issue within research for a long period of time. At the same time, the competence requirements on EA practitioners are very high. Recent court verdicts have raised a concern about the competence status among Swedish practitioners in the field of EA.

The aim of this paper is to explore and analyse the current teaching in EA in Sweden in order to develop this field through influence from other disciplines, in this case Network Learning (NL). The paper builds on two different analyses. The first being an analysis of Swedish EA courses. The second being a comparison of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) Best Practice Principles for Teaching, and the Design dimensions for NL.

The analysis shows that most of the courses are leaning more towards practical training than integration of research contribution and research training. This means that there is a risk that the students will leave the university with a low absorptive capacity. The analysis has also identified that vital competences are lacking in current teaching. These are the awareness of EA being an interdisciplinary process and integrative and systems thinking. This despite, the ability to synthesize information from different sources to develop a holistic understanding is central to EA practise.

The comparison with the design dimensions for NL experiences shows a clear correlation with the category pedagogy of the IAIA Principles an indirect correlation with content and skills. The social dimension in NL is not visible in the analysed course syllabuses, and notions of conflict management and reflective practice are weak.

The backbone of EA teaching is the same in all countries and there are good opportunities, with technology, to build international teaching networks. This would enable more knowledge sharing in larger teaching communities in the field of EA teaching. Therefore, network learning offers a potential for EA teaching, bridging the gap between theory and practice.


Environmental Assessment; Networked learning; Knowledge and learning

Published in

Book title: Proceedings for the thirteenth international conference on networked learning 2022
ISBN: 978-87-974099-0-9
Publisher: Networked Learning


The Thirteenth International Conference on Networked Learning (NLC2022), 16-18 May 2022, Sundsvall, Sweden.

Authors' information

Longueville, Anna
Mid Sweden University
Faith-Ell, Charlotta
Mid Sweden University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development

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