Open Universiteit, a founding member of the Copernicus Alliance, is the national university for open and distance learning in The Netherlands. The university is a frontrunner in new learning technologies and educational insights and continuously works to improve and innovate its education and to support Dutch higher education in preparing for new learning challenges. Expertise on learning for sustainable development is primarily located in the School of Science, which offers BSc and MSc programmes in Environmental Sciences. Already for more than a decade, its staff members develop and evaluate innovative learning environments that enable students to learn for sustainable development. An example is the European Virtual Seminar on Sustainable Development, which is offered since 2001, in cooperation with more than 10 partner universities from all over Europe. The School of Science participates regularly in national and international projects and programmes in the field of learning for sustainable development, for example the EU-funded projects ‘Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe’ (VCSE) and ‘Lifelong Learning Networks for Sustainable Development’ (3- LENSUS).
The School’s research programme on ‘Knowledge production for a sustainable society’ includes three main topics: environmental outlook studies, governance of sustainable development, and learning for sustainable development. Under the latter topic, the School investigates and develops ICT-based tools and approaches in support of learning for sustainable development, both in higher education and professional practice, in cooperation with the university’s Centre for Learning Sciences & Technologies. In higher education, research focuses on collaborative learning environments that support the development of competences for sustainable development. In the professional practice of sustainable development, social learning among actors plays an important role, and we investigate how ICT-based tools, such as computer models and social network platforms, can support these learning processes. In both contexts, the focus of our R&D efforts is on collaborative knowledge creation for sustainable development and how modern ICT can support this. With this particular focus we aim to make a nationally and internationally unique and innovative contribution to the field of learning for sustainable development.