From Attitude Change to Behaviour Change: Institutional Mediators of Education for Sustainable Development Effectiveness

Ismael Velasco, Marie Harder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we explore the way in which institutional contexts mediate values-focused behaviour change, with potential design implications. We use concepts taken from training research, where “learning transfer” refers to the translation into practice of the learning acquired during training: it is considered necessary to generalize it for the job context and for it to be maintained over a period of time on the job. In this paper, we analyse the example of one education for sustainable development (ESD) intervention that is already established as pedagogically effective when it is deployed in diverse institutional environments worldwide—the Youth as Agents of Behaviour Change program of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This allows an opportunity to consider variations in learning transfer due to distinctive moderating institutional features, which can now be understood in terms of varying transfer climates, levels of leadership support and opportunities to practice. Additional barriers of tokenistic consultation, lack of role clarity and perverse effects of increased distance between trainees and their colleagues on return were also seen. ESD programs intending to bridge the values-action gap could benefit from not focusing only on the training content, but pre-planning organisational support for returning trainees and including in the training ways for them to assess and plan to overcome such difficulties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6553-6575
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (


  • behaviour change
  • institutional context
  • learning transfer
  • sustainable development
  • education for sustainable development


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