from IOL CEO Andy Robinson, November 2015
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from IOL CEO Andy Robinson, November 2015

Author:IOL FE
Date Added:30 November 2015

November 2015

It’s been a particularly busy conference season across the Outdoor Learning community.  I hope you’ve found time to benefit from some new thinking and opportunities to develop new contacts at one of the many events of the last few months.  The Institute continues to work hard at finding ways of ensuring the different meetings, workshops and conferences are as joined up as possible.  Though we should celebrate the diversity in our sector it can be frustrating when too many different events take place covering similar but different issues.  In an effort to manage this IOL and The Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC) are holding a joint conference in October 2016.  The event will take place over 3 days 13-15th October at Yarnfield Park, Staffordshire, with AHOEC focused activity on day 1, joint strategic issues on day 2 and IOL practitioner workshops on day 3.  This is an encouraging development in the way our sector works and I hope will be only one of many such future joint initiatives with different member organisations.

 
November has also seen the publication of the research report looking into the current evidence base for the effectiveness of outdoor learning.  Thanks go to The Blagrave Trust for funding this work and to Caroline Fiennes of Giving Evidence and Professor Sandy Oliver of University College London for leading the review.  The report can be found in the IOL website Guidance pages at Evidence Base Review.  The report strongly recommends better co-ordination and reporting of research in the sector.  This is not too surprising and will be helpful  in building on some work already undertaken by Natural England’s strategic research group.  The report also points to a need for practitioners and researches to get better at articulating their models for change.  Those models that clearly identify expected outcomes, approaches to reaching them and methods of measuring progress.  The Institute will be running workshops in this area and will also be hosting conferences focused on better join up between practitioners and researchers and better identification of a research agenda and its co-ordination.  If you are interested in participating in the design or delivery of any of this work please contact us.
 

I recently had the pleasure of joining a number of outdoor learning providers to consider the findings of the Sport England funded research conducted by OIA into outdoor recreation.  Though the work focused on over 16 year olds it also has some useful insights into behaviour of outdoor recreation participants that can be influenced by pre-16 experiences.  Given the rising levels of childhood and adult obesity there is a need for the outdoor learning community to consider very seriously how we can assist in developing longer term healthy lifestyles with all ages of clients.  The current and future costs associated with health in the UK make the education budget pale into insignificance.  Further work is required to develop scalable ways in which we can enable more children and young people especially, to engage in outdoor recreation beyond the structured interventions of an outdoor learning provider.  In the meantime if you’ve not read the report from earlier this year it can be found at Outdoor Participation Report.

Finally as we plan for the 2016 IOL AGM to be hosted by the Southern Region on 18th February, please do get in touch if you are interested in the governance of the Institute.  We have a rolling programme of Trustee appointments and retirements and are always on the lookout for experienced individuals who feel they could help steer the development of the sector’s professional body.  As well contributing to the development of the sector being a Trustee of IOL is also a great way of developing your own understanding and influence in the field.  Please contact us before Christmas if you want to know more.

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The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports practitioners and providers of Outdoor Learning. Our mission is to increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning in the UK. - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=40#sthash.CUZDhwSj.dpuf
The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports practitioners and providers of Outdoor Learning. Our mission is to increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning in the UK. - See more at: http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=40#sthash.CUZDhwSj.dpuf
The Institute for Outdoor Learning supports individuals and organisations who use the outdoors to make a difference for others.

Our mission is to increase participation in Outdoor Learning in the UK and to recognise and improve the quality of Outdoor Learning in the UK.

By representing and lobbying on behalf of our members, both organisational and individuals, and the outdoor education and recreation sector we can help ensure the development and progression of outdoor learning.

IOL supports your work and career whether you are a professional outdoor practitioner, field study officer, instructor, teacher, youth worker, outdoor leader, management development trainer, student or anyone involved in learning outdoors.

Whether you enjoy recreation, expeditions, bushcraft, adventure, therapy, teaching or learning in the mountains, hills or wilderness, on water or land, in rural or urban areas, there will be benefits to you to visit this site or to become an active member. IOL Membership offers you the opportunity to widen your horizons of influence and networks, develop your outdoor career and gain access to deals on outdoor learning publications, gear, training and more.

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