The project TRACCskills, in which the CA is involved as a partner, aims towards developing a practice-oriented compendium for high-quality and future-fit adult education that focuses on "people skills". As the project is making progress, we want to shed a light on a concept that amongst others is being used: the Inner Development Goals (IDGs). The current IDGs framework represents five dimensions and 23 skills and qualities which are especially crucial to reach the SDGs. Find out more about TRACCskills and the IDGs!
TRACCskills (Transformational, cross-cutting people skills for the SDGs) is an EU Erasmus+ project implemented by the CA, Legacy17 (lead), and Visionautik. During 14 months, a practice-oriented compendium will be drafted and tested for use in designing and delivering high-quality, future-fit adult education. The intended users of the compendium are adult educators within the formal and non-formal sector who dedicate their work to ESD and are open to rethinking and renewing their teaching practice.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in adult education to date has mostly focused on raising awareness through imparting knowledge. After decades of ESD we know: knowledge alone rarely leads to changed behaviour and new strategies are called for, especially in the complex contexts and times we are facing. Higher education for sustainability urgently needs to convey "people skills", i.e. skills that empower individuals and groups to review their attitudes and behaviours in light of planetary boundaries and existing imbalances, as well as skills that enable co-creation of solutions to current challenges across sectoral, disciplinary, and cultural boundaries.
We have observed that many adult education courses focusing on sustainable development, climate, and related topics are heavily biased towards existing technical or administrative solutions, and often miss the huge potential of "people skills" both to elicit creativity and innovation, and to create a groundswell of demand for appropriate change. This seems to be valid in all sectors – formal, non-formal and informal.
Specifically, we have identified a lack of materials for adult education covering in a cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral way the behavioural aspects of sustainable development; for instance, in public engagement, consumer behaviour change, leadership, community development processes, and indeed an action-oriented pedagogy.
Also missing are ways to develop the necessary skills, and to integrate them into change processes sufficiently early to activate the human potential to best effect. This lack leads to and reinforces the sub-optimal silo-thinking that dominates much of the current SDG discourse. Introducing a skill set that enables a cross-disciplinary approach opens the way for handling complexity from a perspective not so much of sustainability as of regeneration, to create a society that is healthy, adaptive and resilient to unknown future challenges.
Inner Development Goals
So which skills are we talking about? There are multiple concepts to cluster skills. The TRACCskills project amongst others refers to the Inner Development Goals (IDGs). The IDGs provide an essential framework of transformative skills for sustainable development. The current IDGs framework represents five dimensions and 23 skills and qualities which are especially crucial for leaders who address SDGs, but fundamentally for all of us. The framework has been developed by a team of international researchers after an extensive outreach consultation involving more than a thousand persons.