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About Us

About the Institute for Outdoor Learning

The Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL) champions safe activities and effective learning in the outdoors. We are a professional membership institute working towards an application for a Royal Charter.


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:

IOL Activities


Our Membership

Our members include paid and voluntary instructors, leaders, managers, teachers and researchers who design, facilitate and evaluate purposeful outdoor learning experiences.

Open to all job roles and areas of outdoor learning across the sector, our membership network represents more than 5,000 skilled and professional individuals who help people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to reflect and learn about themselves, each other and their environment.


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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