What are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning?

The potential benefits of outdoor learning are so many that they are grouped below in four broad categories: background, planned, bonus and wider benefits.

Background benefits of Outdoor Learning
are benefits that arise from spending time in the natural environment.

5 key ways in which exposure to the natural environment is beneficial to human health:
Source: Health, Well-Being and Open Space, Literature Review by Nina Morris, OPENspace Research Centre, (2003).

Planned benefits of Outdoor Learning
are benefits that are determined by, or negotiated with, the provider of Outdoor Learning. For example, the City of Salford expects Educational Trips and Visits to help young people to: "Educational Trips and Visits are particularly effective when young people engage in well planned and structured, first hand experiences in small groups, with opportunities to reflect and build upon those experiences." Source: Educational Trips and Visits, Health and Safety Guidance Notes, City of Salford (Revised 2003)

Bonus benefits of Outdoor Learning
arise where participants gain more value than was expected. Such benefits happen more by chance than by design, but they are more likely to happen when there is a highly supportive climate for learning. Many examples of these extra benefits are provided in the research pages.

Wider benefits of Outdoor Learning
are benefits to stakeholders such as families, schools, sponsors, society and future generations (especially in relation to sustainability). Ultimately we are all stakeholders in the success of Outdoor Learning. The more that wider stakeholders are involved, the greater the opportunities for achieving these wider benefits. Some examples of these wider benefits are provided in the research pages, especially in 'Changing Minds: The Lasting Impact of School Trips'.
Next: Examples of benefits gained from OL or: What does the research say about Outdoor Learning?

Index to this Brief Guide to Outdoor Learning
What is OL? Why does OL Matter? What does OL research say?
How safe is OL? Who supports OL and why
Examples of benefits gained from OL
Where to find OL research
How much OL is going on?
Campaigns for OL

OL Research in other journals