What is Outdoor Learning?
Outdoor Learning is an approach which recognises that learning can take place in a variety of settings, not just a classroom.
Outdoor Learning is active learning in the outdoors
In Outdoor Learning participants learn through what they do, through what they encounter and through what they discover. Participants learn about the outdoors, themselves and each other, while also learning outdoor skills. Active learning readily develops the learning skills of enquiry, experiment, feedback, reflection, review and cooperative learning.
Outdoor Learning is real learning
Not only does Outdoor Learning happen in the natural environments where participants can see, hear, touch and smell the real thing, it also happens in an arena where actions have real results and consequences. Outdoor Learning can help to bring many school subjects alive while also providing experiential opportunities for fulfilling the National Curriculum aim “to enable pupils to respond positively to opportunities, challenges and responsibilities, to manage risk and to cope with change and adversity.”
Outdoor Learning broadens horizons and stimulates new interests
There is no limit to the experiences and curiosities that outdoor environments and activities can arouse. Participants frequently discover potential, abilities and interests that surprise themselves and others. Safety codes provide clear boundaries and learning goals give clear direction, but Outdoor Learning draws in energy and inspiration from all around. ‘Broadening horizons’ is a common outcome.
Schools are changing the way they look at Outdoor Learning. It is no longer simply a reward for hard work, or a long awaited adrenalin rush. Nor is it simply outdoor enthusiasts indulging their passion for caving or climbing. Schools more and more are looking at outdoor learning (sometimes called learning outside the classroom) as a tool for school improvement.