Value of outdoor education
There is substantial evidence to indicate that adequately planned and well taught outdoor education curricula can have a positive effect on student outcomes, including educational, interpersonal, social and critical thinking skills, as well as mental and physical health.
Quality outdoor education can:
- enhance enquiry, critical thinking and reflection skills
- make significant contributions to literacy and numeracy
- increase students’ sense of confidence and efficacy
- improve mental health and wellbeing and increase physical health in young people
- improve environmental knowledge and an understanding of culture, heritage and place history
- teach students to assess risk and make judgements about risk management.
The benefits of outdoor education also extend to teachers and include improved relationships with students and personal development in their teaching practice.
Research shows the benefits are compounded by residential outdoor education, which brings an intensity of experience, different and varied opportunities to experience success, a new context for relationships, and new ways of learning.
The 2015 independent evaluation of the Learning Away initiative in the UK found that well designed and delivered residentials can improve outcomes as follows:
- Short and medium term: enhanced relationships, improved engagement and confidence in learning, and new and developing skills and understanding.
- Longer-term: improved achievement, knowledge and skills, improved relationships, a greater sense of belonging, raised aspirations, and more successful transition experiences.
Reviewed 03 November 2021