The Burns Model of Sustainability Pedagogy has five dimensions, each of which is rooted in learning theory.
First, this model emphasizes Content that is thematic, multidisciplinary, and cocreated. The content dimension is rooted in systems theory (Capra, 2002; Meadows, 2008) and social constructivism (Ernest 1993; Philips, 2004; Vygotzky, 1978).
Second, the design includes Perspectives that are diverse and critically question dominant paradigms and practices. The perspectives dimension is grounded in critical theory and critical pedagogy (Freire, 1970; hooks,1994).
Third, the model incorporates a Process that is participatory, experiential, and relational. This dimension relies primarily on experiential learning theory (Dewey, 1938; Kolb, 1984).
Fourth, the model includes a Context that is place-based, with its foundation in place-based learning theory and situated experiential learning theory (Fenwick, 2001; Orr 2004; Sobel, 2004).
Fifth, the Burns Model of Sustainability Pedagogy emphasizes an ecological design for the purpose of transformational learning (Baumgartner, 2001; Mezirow, 2000).
The Burns Model of Sustainability Pedagogy holds multiple goals for learners. It seeks to: (a) increase learners’ systemic/thematic understanding of the relationships between complex sustainability issues (Content); (b) provide learners with opportunities to think critically about dominant paradigms, practices and power relationships and consider complex ecological and social issues from diverse perspectives (Perspectives); (c) enhance learners’ civic responsibility and intentions to work toward sustainability through active participation, experience, and through relationships with other learners (Process); (d) increase learners’ understanding of and connection with the geographical place and the community in which they live (Context); and (e) utilize an ecological course design process that intertwines the other four dimensions to create transformational learning experiences (Design). (Burns, 2013)