Imagine a world in which the only concrete experience is concrete
experience - where people grow up in an urban environment with no experience
of gardens or farmland or wild areas. For some young people, especially
those living in urban poverty, this is reality. Every citizen surely
deserves the opportunity to spend time in the natural world? This
simple (and minimal) expectation is now enshrined in government legislation
which ensures that every child has at least one residential experience
in their school years.
Learning is a source of powerful learning experiences
Outdoor Learning can be powerful, exciting,
inspirational, developmental and rewarding in many ways. The power
of Outdoor Learning makes it a valued means for overcoming some of the
toughest learning challenges. For example: it can bring about
personal breakthroughs for people with learning difficulties; it can
help to bring divided communities together; and it can inspire culture
change in organisations.
who usually struggle can excel in the outdoor classroom
Outdoor Learning provides such a different climate for learning that
people who normally struggle as learners often become motivated and capable
learners in the outdoors. Teachers are frequently surprised by the abilities
and interest shown by 'poorly performing' students when in the outdoors, and
by the extent to which Outdoor Learning has awakened their potential.
who already excel become more versatile learners
Even people who are excellent learners in indoor environments encounter very
different learning experiences outdoors. For example, some outdoor
programmes are designed to help PhD students become more rounded and
employable. But all
benefit from becoming more skilled, rounded and versatile learners. This
matters even more in a fast-changing world that needs lifelong learners.
development: "If I can do this, I can do anything!"
Participants of all ages and abilities frequently report personal
breakthroughs, especially when taking part in adventurous activities and
surprising themselves. "If I can do this, I can do anything!"
is the kind of statement that signifies such breakthroughs.
development: "If we can do this, we can do anything!"
On many outdoor programmes, and especially on team building programmes,
participants discover just how much they can achieve when they work
well together. It is also good news for schools, communities or other
sponsors when participants' team skills and team spirit continue into the
citizenship results from a greater sense of connection and responsibility
As change accelerates, many individuals become disconnected from society and
feel they cannot use the political process to bring about beneficial changes
in their lives and within their communities. Outdoor Learning has helped
people to take control of their lives and take a more active part in their
Outdoor Learning Matters: the case for Outdoor Learning
Outdoor Learning is an engaging, effective and enjoyable form of
learning, whether the emphasis is personal, social or environmental, or is
about learning itself. Outdoor Learning provides first hand
experience for learning about our natural world. It is also a powerful
medium for personal, organisational and cultural change. Many socially
useful purposes are readily achieved through Outdoor Learning.
paragraphs about 'Direct contact with the natural world' and 'Active
citizenship' are adapted from the website of The European Institute of
Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning (EOE).
are the Benefits of Outdoor Learning?