If taking your learning outside of the classroom seems daunting and you need some evidence for doing so then read on. Here are our top 10 benefits of outdoor learning!
1. Increased engagement and concentration
It can be hard to hold concentration levels at the best to times with students gazing off into the distance out of the window. Why not harness that and take your lesson the other side of the glass? For certain lessons it might seem irrelevant but with a bit of imagination a maths lesson can incorporate measuring distances between buildings and working out angles. The possibilities are endless. Where it isn’t practical there are other options to take learning out of the classroom to do something totally different, like team building or a residential camp. Students return feeling more engaged with staff and their compatriots. Refreshed and ready to continue their studies.
2. Inspiring creativity and imagination
You can read about castles and knights in books but the benefit of outdoor learning is that by visiting a ruin in person you can truly bring it to life. You’ll be amazed at how imaginations begin to run wild and how much more engaged the students are and ready to learn more when they get back to the classroom.
3. Improvements in overall behaviour
Many behavioural issues stem from a lack of concentration and engagement. The latter originating often in a disconnect between what is being learnt and the relevance of it. Taking lessons outside of the classroom can help resolve some of those issues by bringing the learning to life. Undertaking some kind of outdoor educational adventure activities can help combat conflict, removing the group from their normal surroundings and challenging them to have to work together in order to achieve a common goal.
4. Improved health & well-being
We all know about endorphins and keeping our bodies healthy is a vital part of maintaining our mental and emotional well-being. Burning off some of that excess energy could also help increase concentration levels.
5. Making learning more relevant
Young people have great imaginations but as the saying goes, seeing is believing. The benefit of outdoor learning is that concepts can be put into a real-life situation, becoming more relevant and therefore more interesting and engaging. It really helps to see why these things are important to learn for everyday life.
6. Better attitudes towards the environment
Starting early to foster an appreciation and understanding of how their decisions impact the environment, will give young people the ability to create lasting change – together.
7. Enhanced communication skills
Outdoor sessions are often focussed around getting the participants to work together as a team to solve a problem. That inherently requires them to communicate with one another effectively, resolving conflicts of opinion, making their voices heard, giving and receiving feedback.
8. More resilient
A willingness to challenge yourself both physically, mentally and emotionally are integral components of many outdoors activities that are slightly more adventurous. It is the trying, failing and subsequent learning that build confidence, self-esteem and ultimately resilience.
9. Decreased stress levels
At a time when levels of stress are rising for most of us, it has never been more relevant for young people to learn techniques to reduce and handle stress. It is well documented that hearing the sounds of nature is linked to the production of serotonin in the brain. The subsequent feelings of well-being and safety help to combat stress. In addition to which, the pleasure chemical dopamine is released when we take part in repetitive actions, so studying something like a plant growing over time is fantastic for stimulating that feel good hormone.
10. Positive impact on memory
I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand (Confucius). There is a lot of evidence that shows learning something new by actively experiencing it improves recall. This in turn releases dopamine into the hippocampus where memories are created. Clever!
*Source: Bachelors Degree Online