Students’ Reasoning About Sustainable Development in Relation to Products’ Life Cycles



Technology education, sustainable development, product life cycle


In this study, we investigate Secondary School students’ reasoning about a product’s life cycle in relation to three dimensions of sustainable development: economic-, social- and ecological sustainable development. Production and consumption are part of a complex socio-technological system that affects nature and life on earth and knowledge about this complex system are required to achieve sustainable development. In technology education, students can get the opportunity to reason about products and their life cycles. Hence, this study aims to explore what emerges in students’ reasoning about products’ life cycles in relation to sustainable development. Data collection was made through two semi-structured interviews where the students participated in focus groups containing 3 and 4 participants in each group. All student responses have been analysed through thematic analysis to explore dimensions of sustainability. Results show that the students reason with regard to all three dimensions of sustainable development. However, the three dimensions occur to a varying extent within the different phases of a product’s life cycle. Additionally, the students also connect dimensions in their reasoning, with both harmonies and contrasted perspective. Participating students’ reasoning indicated traces of an anthropocentric approach. These results have implications for technology education both associated to content and practice, which is an important step towards education for conscious consumers.

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How to Cite

Sundler, M., & Hultmark, E. (2023). Students’ Reasoning About Sustainable Development in Relation to Products’ Life Cycles . The 40th International Pupils’ Attitudes Towards Technology Conference Proceedings 2023, 1(October). Retrieved from