Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

Experiential Learning

Project-Based Experiential Learning for Sustainability Embedded Higher Education


Experiential learning and project-based learning share their pedagogic foundation, while there is insufficient research on exploring their integration for enhancing student learning in real-life projects. This gap in knowledge is coupled with a paucity of sustainability pedagogy in higher education. This project addressed the knowledge gap by developing an innovative ‘project-based experiential learning’ (PjBEL) model and contextualised it in HKU’s sustainability embedded Common Core courses. Two underlying rationales were to explore innovative pedagogy that effectively integrates experiential learning and project-based learning in real-life projects and to enhance sustainability embedded learning curriculum. The research was carried out through the combination of questionnaire surveys with students registered with three Common Core courses, interviews with relevant teachers, and observations of students’ learning activities throughout one semester. The project was supported by a University-wide team including the Faculty of Engineering, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, University Common Core Programme, Gallant Ho Experiential Learning Centre, and Estates Office. The project outcomes include PjBEL models and frameworks at course, university and community levels for enhancing project-based experiential learning for sustainability education. The outcomes will inform curriculum innovations in the community.

Principal Investigator

Dr. W. Pan, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Contact

Project level

Course-level project

Project Completion

February 2015


  1. A project leaflet has been developed for educational practitioners’ information and possible consideration in their future practices. [An e-copy of this leaflet is downloadable at: [http://www.hkzcp.org/news-and-events/project-based-experiential-learning-for-sustainability-embedded-higher-education/]
  2. A project seminar was held on 16 February 2015 at The University of Hong Kong to present the project findings. The seminar brought together staff, researchers and students from various faculties and departments from HKU and other institutions (including some from overseas) who are interested in project-based experiential learning. [An e-copy of the project seminar leaflet is downloadable at: [http://www.hkzcp.org/news-and-events/project-based-experiential-learning-for-sustainability-embedded-higher-education/]
  3. A brochure of Project-Based Experiential Learning (PjBEL) Models and Frameworks has been developed, which provides strategies for effective structuring and assessment of PjBEL for sustainability higher education at three levels of course, programme and community of knowledge.
  4. A comparison matrix of practical applications of EL, PBL and PjBEL in sustainability-related programmes.
  5. A matrix of opportunities and constraints of the sustainability component of the learning curriculum for Project-Based Experiential Learning (PjBEL).
  6. Questionnaires for evaluating students’ learning experience with Project-Based Experiential Learning (PjBEL) for sustainability embedded higher education within the context of the relevant Common Core courses.
  7. Publications: The abstract of a paper has been submitted to International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Special Issue on Sustainability in Higher Education in the Asia-Pacific Context. A second journal paper is being written to report a project-based experiential learning framework for sustainability embedded higher education.