A critical analysis of outdoor learning experiences and the impact on pupil development and conceptual understanding
Outdoor learning in education is an area that is difficult to ‘measure’ the benefits of. This paper is a critical analysis of outdoor learning experiences and aims to explore the impact opportunities may have on pupil development and children’s subsequent conceptual understanding. It provides an attempt to yield a better understanding of ‘experience’ as a key concept of learning and to ultimately find ways to better personal practice and enhance the opportunities for children to reach their potential. The results of this research suggest that outdoor learning is best utilised when supplemented with focused classroom learning, providing learners with multiple sources and styles of information to deepen their conceptual understanding. A clear connection between pupil and teacher enjoyment and their subsequent engagement was present in the data, culminating in significant leaps forward in understanding and learning, thus providing evidence to support the provision of as many outdoor and experiential learning opportunities for students as possible.