Students’ Decision-Making in Education for Sustainability-Related Extracurricular Activities—A Systematic Review of Empirical Studies

Equipping students with the capability to perform considerate decision-making is a key competence to elaborate socio-scientific issues. Particularly in the socio-scientific context of sustainable development, decision-making is required for the processing of information and the implementation of sustainable action. Extracurricular activities in education for sustainable development (ESD) offer a suitable format to promote decision-making due to their multidisciplinary and more informal structure. The purpose of this literature review is therefore to analyze empirical studies that explore students’ (1) decision-making in (2) ESD-related (3) extracurricular activities. Following the preferred-reporting of items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a systematic search yielded 19 out of 365 articles, each of them addressing all three components. Despite the theoretical relationship, hardly any empirical enquiry is found examining the trinomial interrelation with an equal consideration of all components. Contrarily, we argue that each is positioned in favor for only one component with the others serving as a backdrop. It follows that the full potential of an equal distribution between all three foci has not been explored yet; even though integrating sustainability-related issues in extracurricular activities displays a promising learning opportunity to optimally foster students’ decision-making. Instead, studies that concentrate primarily on decision-making as a quantitatively measurable competence were predominant.


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