The awareness of sustainable development has been increasing significantly in the Thai manufacturing industry since the financial crisis in 1997. The government has launched several initiatives to promote the development of sustainable products as the concept has a potential to stimulate the national economy and address the sustainability issues. Although the progress has been reflected through the launch of numerous products in the market, most of the products available were only claimed to be sustainable or environmentally friendly. Education is a prerequisite to achieve the integration of sustainable design as it equips stakeholders with knowledge and skills required to be the future decision makers. In other words, it enables designers to create products that contribute to sustainable development. However, the researcher found a lack of sustainable design learning in Thai industrial/product design courses.
This situation has motivated the researcher to carry out this PhD research with an aim to support the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) into Thai higher education institutions (HEIs). The literature review emphasised the need to tailor the theoretical framework for Thai lecturers due to the lack of ESD training and appropriate materials. It also indicated the lack of publications related to the Thai context and the requirements to identify barriers and needs of the target users.
The shortfall was addressed through a series of interviews; experts from three different disciplines (government, business and education sectors) were invited to participate in the interview sessions and reveal the status of sustainable design and ESD in Thailand. The findings were then used to construct the ESD framework that is specific to Thai industrial/product design courses. The SustainAble web-tool was developed to make it more effective in enabling the framework to comply with the needs of Thai design lecturers.
Usability testing was employed to test the framework that was presented through the web-tool. The framework evaluation demonstrated the success of the framework development and underlined the need for the web-tool. The tool can fulfill the framework and allow it to be practically applied in the context of Thai design education.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.