Identifying students’ sustainability preferences to improve design team performance

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Barrella, Elise
Girdner, Justyn
Anderson, Robin
Watson, Mary Katherine
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University College Cork
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In this paper, we discuss evidence from two studies, which use a mix of individual and team tasks to uncover students’ knowledge and skills related to sustainable design. The research explores two questions: (1) Could a team with a mix of individual student sustainability profiles influence individual team members’ learning? (2) Does a diverse, balanced team enhance project performance? When we look at individual students, preferences or affinities emerge that indicate socially-, environmentally-, economically-, or technically- minded individuals. As part of a team, students influence each other’s design decisions, often by bringing new knowledge or a different perspective into a discussion. Team composition that prioritizes a mix of individual preferences could be a valuable strategy for sustainable design, and help team members appreciate the value of different sustainability aspects.
Sustainable development , Engineering education , Sustainable design , Team composition
Barrella, E., Girdner, J., Anderson, R. and Watson, M. K. (2021) ‘Identifying students’ sustainability preferences to improve design team performance’, EESD2021: Proceedings of the 10th Engineering Education for Sustainable Development Conference, 'Building Flourishing Communities', University College Cork, Ireland, 14-16 June.