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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Teaching Sustainable Development Goals to University Students: A Cross-Country Case-Based Study

Vasconcelos, Clara; Silva, Joana; Calheiros, Cristina SC; Mikusinski, Grzegorz; Iwińska, Katarzyna; Skaltsa, Ioanna G; Krakowska, Katarzyna


With the purpose of analysing if case-based teaching methodology could improve higher education students’ knowledge about sustainable development, a quasi-experimental study was conducted in an international project (PASSION—Partnership for Sustainable Development and Social Innovation) and in five countries (Greece, Poland, Portugal and Sweden). Cases were interdisciplinary and focused on sustainable development goals aligned with common worldwide dilemmas like, for example, food consumption, organic farm or nature protection. Our sample consisted of 104 university students aged between 18 and 58 years, where 53% were female. Standardized pre-and post-tests were administered, and a significant improvement in sustainable development knowledge was observed considering three main questions in the pooled dataset (t103 = −7.324; p = 0.000). Regarding the four cases applications where results were more significant, an in-depth analysis was conducted, allowing the project team to better understand participants answers to multiple-choice and open questions which are analysed and discussed individually. Our results demonstrate that the case-based teaching improved the knowledge of sustainable development goals, which is expected to induce positive changes in pro-environmental behaviours. We also point out the potential of case-based teaching applied in a cross-country manner. The scheme is particularly valuable in dealing with complex sustainability dilemmas that show better their global perspectives. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland


sustainability; case-based teaching; higher education; international project; pro-environmental behaviours

Published in

2022, Volume: 14, number: 3, article number: 1593

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG4 Quality education
    SDG17 Partnerships for the goals

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Pedagogical Work

    Publication identifier


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