Making The Case for Outdoor Learning

Research, reports, policy documents and news items in support of Outdoor Learning


The demand for Outdoor Learning programmes is increasing and strong cases are being made in support of the value of Outdoor Learning. All the following documents in this blog have a connection to the benefits of getting active, sharing an adventure, and enjoying the outdoors. This is dynamic and growing resource - please get in touch to suggest or share an entry.

You can find some key research papers here covering effective policy and practice in the sector. If you are looking to get involved in regional research, follow this link to find the research hub closest to you.


Describing Outdoor Learning

Horizons 94 (Summer 2021) Neal Anderson, IOL Professional Standards Manager; Dave Harvey, PhD Research Student, Outdoor Learning Consultant; John Crosbie, Disability Inclusion, Safety Consultant and Activity Provider

Institute 0 44096 Article rating: 4.0

This article describes an approach to describing Outdoor Learning that honours the term's historical roots, is informed by researchers in the field, offers clarity, and responds to individuals, organisations and stakeholders asking: • What opportunities are there in Outdoor Learning? • Is what I/ we do Outdoor Learning? • Why should we bother about Outdoor Learning?

What Works in school based natural environment interventions: A scoping review

2019 : Becca Lovell: University of Exeter Medical School

Institute 0 37038 Article rating: 5.0

The school is one of the most important settings and mechanisms through which we can address the health and wellbeing of children and young people. As a result, there is interest in identifying effective interventions and in understanding how educational cultures, practices and environments can be modified or used to support the equitable physical, social, cognitive, and academic development of children and young people.

What Works briefing on natural environment based health interventions

2019 : Becca Lovell (1) , Ben Wheeler (1) , Kerryn Husk (2) , Kathryn Machray (3), and Mike Depledge1 (1)University of Exeter Medical School, (2)NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, (3)MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow

Institute 0 36724 Article rating: No rating

A growing body of evidence suggests that the use of natural environment is associated with better health outcomes and may potentially be of value as a resource in tackling some of our most intractable health issues [2, 3]. There is increasing interest as to how the natural environment could be utilised as a health promotion tool, setting or context in which to address the increasing burden of health problems. Many types of natural environment - from the National Parks, with their protected environments with high levels of biodiversity and culturally important spaces, to urban greenspaces, close to large populations offering spaces for physical activity and stress relief - could have a role in public health promotion or as a therapeutic setting. 



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