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About Us

About the Institute for Outdoor Learning

The Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) is the professional body for organisations and individuals who use the outdoors to make a difference for others.


Our Vision

  • Outdoor learning is a highly valued form of development, education and employment in UK society

Our Mission

  • To increase participation in outdoor learning in the UK
  • To recognise and improve the quality of outdoor learning provision

Our Activity:

Lobbying and leading consultations and collaboration to champion and develop outdoor learning. We work across the whole sector and provide national and governmental input.
Sharing the latest information, research and good practice through IOL Guidance Statements and the Journal for Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning.
Organising conferences and events through regional and special intent are networks for members to develop connections and share practice.
Professional Development:
Offering accreditation, training, a professional magazine and the sectors leading jobs site.
IOL Activities



Membership of the Institute demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and integrity in outdoor learning. Our members help people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to reflect and learn about themselves, each other and their environment.

IOL Membership Levels


Governance and Structure

The Institute is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees elected by the membership. Learn More...

History and Role

The Institute was formed in 2001 following the convergence of a number of representative bodies that had emerged in the UK to champion and lobby for aspects of outdoor learning. Since the early 1970’s there has been an ever-growing need for those involved in outdoor pursuits, field studies and outdoor adventurous activities to share safe and effective practice, develop a growing workforce and represent the educational and developmental potential of the sector. The creation of IOL built on the early work of the National Association for Outdoor Education (1970) and the Association for Outdoor Learning (1998) and added a larger, independent voice for the sector.


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Warwick Mill Business Centre, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA4 8RR

+44 (0)1228 564580



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