Learning outside the classroom is about raising achievement through an organised, powerful approach to learning in which direct experience is of prime importance. This is not only about what we learn but importantly how and where we learn. It is not an end in itself but rather a vehicle to develop the capacity to learn. Good quality learning outside the classroom adds great value to classroom learning. Much has been learnt in recent years about how the brain works and learning styles - the different ways in which we prefer to learn. The potential for learning is maximised if we use the powerful combination of physical, visual and naturalistic ways of learning. This is the case for ‘experiential’ or ‘authentic’ learning.
There are clear educational benefits by helping young people apply their knowledge across a range of challenges, learning outside the classroom builds bridges between theory and reality, schools and communities, young people and their futures. Quality learning experiences in ‘real’ situations have the capacity to raise achievement across a range of subjects and to develop better personal and social skills.
When these experiences are well planned, safely managed and personalised to meet the needs of every child they can:
- Improve academic achievement
- Provide a bridge to higher order learning
- Develop skills and independence in a widening range of environments
- Make learning more engaging and relevant to young people
- Nuture creativity
- Provide opportunities for informal learning through play
- Reduce behaviour problems and improve attendance
- Stimulate, inspire and improve motivation
- Develop the ability to deal with uncertainty
- Provide challenge and the opportunity to take acceptable levels of risk
- Improve young people's attitude to learning