eLearning Course Features

Our courses are designed to help learners access and understand sustainability concepts and apply them to day-to-day business, community and personal decision-making. Each course includes:

  • A structured overview of key sustainability concepts including systems thinking and backcasting; scientific and sustainability principles; and a step-by-step process for strategic planning and decision-making in complex systems (business, government etc).
  • Real-life case studies and interactive activities that present current social, ecological and economic issues and help learners apply theoretical knowledge to practical business and community situations.
  • An extensive resource section including relevant information on the state of the world, the science of sustainability and the TNS framework along with lessons from leaders, tools and more than eighty business and community case studies from around the world.
  • A final exam and personalized certificate that recognizes the learner’s accomplishment.

Click on the course titles below for more information.

Sustainability 101

Sustainability 101™ is a condensed version of Sustainability: Step by Natural Step™ and takes approximately sixty-to-eighty five minutes to complete (depending on the learner’s pace).

Participants who successfully complete the course will be able to meet the following learning objectives:

  • Outline the evidence for our current sustainability crisis, and describe this using a powerful metaphor.
  • Describe the process of backcasting, justify the key role of systems thinking, and outline the basic scientific principles that underlie the concept of sustainability.
  • Define the four basic principles for sustainability and use them to analyze actions from a sustainability perspective.
  • Outline an “ABCD” process for strategic planning and decision-making toward sustainability.
  • Show how various tools and approaches for sustainable development relate to one another.

Sustainability 101™ has the following sections and activities:

Sustainability 101TM Sections Content and Activity Overview
1. Welcome
2. Setting the Scene
This section takes approximately 25 min.
a. Who’s playing the game
b. The shape of things to come
c. Scenario: You decide
  • This section introduces the concept of sustainable development, presents a powerful metaphor (“The Funnel”) for understanding sustainability issues and engages the learner in an interactive decision-making scenario.
  • Activities: A four-question quiz, a supply-and-demand exercise and two interactive scenarios.
3. Backcasting from Sustainability Principles
This section takes approximately 45 min.
a. Backcasting systems and cycles
b. Breaking the cycles
c. The four sustainability principles
d. The ABCD process
e. Step “D” – in practice
f. How sustainability tools and approaches relate
4. The final word
  • This section introduces the concept of backcasting from principles, presents the science of systems thinking and the Earth as a system and outlines four fundamental principles for sustainability. It then outlines a four step ‘ABCD’ process for strategic decision-making, provides the real-life solutions to the scenarios from the first section and presents how sustainability tools and approaches relate.
  • Activities: An eight question sustainability principles quiz
5. The exam and personalized course certificate
  • The exam is a ten-question quiz that reinforces the course learning. A grade of 70% is required to “pass” the course and receive a certificate of achievement. Learners can take the quiz multiple times to get the highest grade possible. It is hosted on a separate page so that learners can review the course content while writing the exam.

 

Step by Natural Step

Sustainability: Step by Natural Step™ takes approximately three to four hours to complete (depending on the learner’s pace). Participants who successfully complete the course will be able to meet the following learning objectives:

  • Outline the evidence for our current sustainability crisis, and describe this using a powerful metaphor.
  • Show, using examples, the strategic benefits enjoyed by organizations and communities who are proactive about sustainability.
  • Describe the process of backcasting, justify the key role of systems thinking, and outline the basic scientific principles that underlie the Natural Step Framework.
  • Define the four basic principles for sustainability (the four “System Conditions”), describe the mechanisms that led to their definition, and use them to analyze actions from a sustainability perspective.
  • Outline an “ABCD” process for strategic planning and decision-making toward sustainability.
  • Show how various tools and approaches for sustainable development relate to one another.

Sustainability: Step by Natural Step™ has the following sections and activities:

Sustainability Step by Step by Natural StepTM Sections Content and Activity Overview
1. Welcome
2. Setting the Scene
This section takes approximately 40 min.
a. Who’s playing the game?
b. The shape of things to come
c. The sustainability advantage
d. Scenario: You decide
  • This section is a clear and entertaining introduction to the current state of the world’s ecological and socioeconomic systems, using a powerful metaphor to illustrate the nature and possibility of sustainability. Participants engage with the powerful business case for sustainability and use a scenario exercise to apply their knowledge and understanding.
  • Activities include: Various activities, including a quiz on sustainability leadership, a supply-and-demand exercise and interactive scenarios.
3. The Natural Step Framework
This section takes approximately 80 min.
a. Backcasting
b. Systems thinking
c. Yikes! Basic science
d. The 4 system conditions
e. The ABCD process
f. “A” – Awareness
g. “B” & “C” – Baseline Analysis and Compelling Vision
h. “D” – Down to Action
  • This section presents the key elements of a highly effective tool for strategic planning towards sustainability. Learners gain access to the basic premises of The Natural Step Framework, including interactive sessions on Backcasting, Systems Thinking, the System Conditions, Basic Science and the ABCD Process. Detailed and interactive, it outlines a four step process for strategic decision-making in any organization.
  • Activities include: Various activities including an eight question sustainability principles quiz
4. Now Do It
This section takes approximately 40 min. not including the team exercise.
a. Scenario – You decide, again!
b. Scenario – Team exercise
c. How TNS fits in with other tools and concepts
d. The final word
  • This section challenges learners to apply concepts, both individually and within a team context, to case studies drawn from IKEA and the resort community of Whistler, Canada. It also explores and illustrates the compatibility of other tools and approaches to sustainable development, such as Ecological Footprint, ISO 14001 and LEED Green Building Standards. Finally, learners are presented with ideas for taking action on sustainability in their own organization.
5. The exam and personalized course certificate
  • The exam is a ten-question quiz that reinforces the course learning. A grade of 70% is required to “pass” the course and receive a certificate of achievement. Learners can take the quiz multiple times to get the highest grade possible. It is hosted on a separate page so that learners can review the course content while writing the exam.

 

Course Comparison

 

Features Sustainability - Step by Natural StepTM Sustainability 101TM
Overview A comprehensive course on sustainability divided into three distinct modules and an extensive resource section A condensed introduction to sustainability and The Natural Step Framework divided into two sections and accompanied by an extensive resource section
Length 3-4 hours 60-80 minutes
Focus In-depth learning on sustainability and The Natural Step framework Introduction to sustainability
Cost (for one individual license) $98 Cdn + tax $98 Cdn + tax
Bulk pricing available Yes Yes
Customisation available Yes Yes
Languages available English English, French, Swedish
Structure Module 1: Setting the Scene
Module 2: The Natural Step Framework
Module 3: Do It Now
Setting the Scene
Backcasting from Sustainability Principles
Contains resource section Yes Yes
Diploma awarded Yes Yes
Length of access 12 months 12 months
Available for blended learning Yes (more on blended learning) Yes (more on blended learning)

Course Administration

As a learning tool, our courses:

  • Can be hosted on any Learning Management System or delivered through our online server. This allows for hassle-free delivery as there are no IT components for learners to install or manage.
  • Allows for self-paced learning as users can exit the course anytime and return to the same starting point.
  • Includes a management interface that allows administrators to track learners’ progress and completion.
  • Provides ongoing access to the course and resource materials for renewable 12-month periods. A navigation bar allows users to review specific sections and resources without having to revisit the entire course.
  • Can be customized to incorporate a client’s branding, business activities and needs.

 

The Natural Step Framework was used as a compass in implementing sustainability at Interface. I wish this e-learning course had been available then; it would have made our efforts much easier. I have no hesitation in endorsing this e-learning course for any organization that wishes to engage all its employees in making an integrated decision to 'do well by doing good'."

- Rahumathulla Marikkar, Director of Technology and the Environment, Interface Flooring Systems (Canada)

There is no way we could have reached so many people in four months by any other means as we did through online learning. Once I let people know I could watch their progress online, they also wanted to make sure they kept up with the readings.”

- Kathy Jenkins, Whistler Blackcomb Mountains Resort Inc., Environmental Coordinator