Outdoor Learning

‘Outdoor learning’ is a word used to describe when the outdoors is used in combination with academic curricula. This principle can be found in a variety of curriculum, methods, programmes, and teaching philosophies all around the world, even to the point of schooling without the need of a building. Outdoor learning does not always indicate that the learning is about or for the environment, but rather that it is a curriculum-based method that uses outdoor space as a background and stimulation. It’s more about asking what we can learn from the places we visit and how this connects to what we learn on the inside in a genuine and practical way. It is a broad term that includes: outdoor play in the early years, school grounds projects, environmental education, recreational and adventure activities, personal and social development programmes, expeditions, team building, leadership training, management development, education for sustainability, adventure therapy and more. Outdoor Learning does not have a clearly defined boundary but it does have a common core. 

The health benefits associated with outdoor learning have now been supported by a plethora of studies associating time spent outdoors to increased motivation for learning, well-being, and stress reduction. Experts focus on a wide range of topics. Simply from a health standpoint, there is now evidence that suggests that youngsters who are exposed to natural light and are forced to look into the distance are less prone to developing short-sightedness later in life. But the benefits of outdoor learning aren’t limited to children’s health; a recent study found that it can also improve teacher satisfaction and well-being with increase in their productivity, engagement and morale. This form of learning encourages peer-to-peer instruction in younger pupils, while older students – and teachers – benefit from a more balanced screen time. It is critical to provide opportunities for youngsters to learn outside. They are unaware why they are going outside at first but these experiences become additional motives for learning over time.

Yet these questions, keep coming in our mind that how can outdoor spaces on campus further enhance our educational experiences? Can simply being outside change the way we may feel, discuss, inquire, interact or even think?

The premise that natural green space can lead to improved cognitive capacities is the focus of a lot of nature-based educational research. It has the ability to revolutionise the way we imagine, make observations, and engage with our peers, according to practitioners and experts. The Attention Restoration Theory implies that our ability to prolong directed attention requires a recovery or ‘process of restoration,’ according to a growing field of cognitive psychology. In other words, we can improve our cognitive processes, which are critical in our academic world, if we can establish nourishing and restorative surroundings that support this type of healing. The easiest way to complete this restoration process is to do it outside.

If students want to become lifelong learners, they must recognise that the classroom is not the only place where they can learn and acquire knowledge. Over the years, it’s been fantastic to witness the enthusiasm and wonder that outdoor learning has engendered in students’ minds. Students’ perspectives are broadened and their imaginations are boosted just by taking the time to notice what is around them and seeing everyday objects, such as trees and roads, as triggers for learning.

Our understanding of the value of outdoor learning has increased exponentially in the recent years but with the coming technology we have been ignorant of the same. The technical development is obviously to be considered as they have created a new dynamic in teaching learning sphere for our children. Yet, the outdoor education has its own share of positive impact. And as reminders the gurukuls and ancient education system of our country highly used outdoor education and learning in their methodologies.

“It is critical that youngsters have opportunities to learn outside,” says a learning specialist. “They are unaware why they are going outside at first; nonetheless, these experiences become additional motives for learning over time. They also encourage students to be curious about the subject they deal with on a regular basis.” Outdoor learning, they say, naturally leads to peer-to-peer teaching and can have long-term benefits if done on a regular basis. We have seen multitudes of benefits of outdoor learning, from increased motivation to enhanced cognitive processing, taking students beyond the classroom walls offers a wealth of benefits. Hence, we can’t disregard its significance in the overall development of a child. The outdoor learning will provide a unique dimension to students and make learning a more enjoyable process for them.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”- John Muir

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