Types of learning identified in reflective energy diaries of post-graduate students

Dan van der Horst*, Sam Staddon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Engagement with students about social and environmental dilemmas can be an important pathway to help to transform attitudes and behaviours in society over time. This paper seeks to further the links between research on energy behaviour and demand-side management in the home with educational research about learning processes. We analyse ‘free-form’ energy diaries written by 33 masters students, identify the different types of knowledge and insights that students have sought to obtain during this self-led exercise and find that we can link that back to different types of learning recognised in education studies literature, namely situated learning, social learning, reflective learning and experimental/action learning. We argue that these different forms of learning are interlinked and can be relevant for the development of both environmental citizenship and ‘living lab’ approaches. Embedding all these different forms of learning in both research and teaching on energy demand management has the potential to yield rapid, co-produced research insights as well as useful points for action for students, building managers and other relevant actors in college towns and student service provision. It could also help the next generation of graduate professionals to become more energy aware through their own personal experiences and thus potentially more open towards lower energy choices in material investment and daily practices in subsequent stages of their lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1783-1795
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Issue number7
Early online date14 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Daily life
  • Energy literacy
  • Energy use
  • Learning theory
  • Students


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