Bridging the Theory–practice Gap Through Work Integrated Learning- educating Students as Change Agents Advancing the SDGs: A Case Study of WIL in Higher Education at a Master’s Program in Sweden

Karin Alm*, Caroline Aggestam Pontoppidan, Daniela Argento

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter has two key objectives. The first is to explore how Work Integrated Learning (WIL) as a pedagogy can advance education for sustainability in higher education to ensure a sustainable future. The second is to facilitate educators escape dualism between theory and practice while shaping employable graduates able to serve society as change agents. This mixed method study has a qualitative case study design, with an empirical focus on student’ engagement throughout WIL in a Swedish Higher Education Institution (HEI) context. The findings show how WIL addresses unanswered questions in the HEIs collaborative practices that can support the sustainable development considering inherent influences of local and national contexts. Extrapolating from this, this chapter contributes by identifying how WIL can enable students as future change agents through engaging with industry and communities while applying theory on real-life challenges of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Contribution of Universities Towards Education for Sustainable Development
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Thais Dibbern, Salvador Ruiz de Maya, María-del-Carmen Alarcón-del-Amo, Longinos Marin Rives
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2024
ISBN (Print)9783031498527, 9783031498558
ISBN (Electronic)9783031498534
Publication statusPublished - 2024
SeriesWorld Sustainability Series


  • Work-integrated learning (WIL)
  • Sustainable development goals (SDGs)
  • Change agents
  • Sustainability literacy
  • Dualism of theory practice

Cite this