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National Outdoor Learning Award

Promoting and capturing personal development

The National Outdoor Learning Award scheme (NOLA) recognises and captures the personal development outcomes of participants during a residential or regular outdoor learning experience.

 

The award has been trialled and found to be effective in a number of different outdoor learning contexts (schools, residential centres, National Park groups). It is underpinned by educational best practice and European welfare legislation.

National Outdoor Learning Award

The Institute for Outdoor Learning is pleased to support The National Outdoor Learning Award.

 

National Outdoor Learning Award

 

 

  • NOLA can be used with different ages, needs, outdoor environments (on-site, woodland, hill, sea etc.), different activities (outdoor, adventure, field study, environmental) and with single and multiple session programmes
  • NOLA assists learners to develop high levels of motivation, esteem, skill, knowledge and desire to learn.
  • NOLA provides evidence of development in three areas - self, others and the environment.
  • NOLA gives outdoor learning professionals and organisations the opportunity to embed personal development into their delivery.

Thanks to a partnership between IOL and the creators (Dr. Roger Hopper and Heatree Activity Centre), NOLA is a FREE resource available to download.

 

The National Outdoor Learning Award (NOLA) was developed by…

Dr Roger Hopper designed and first used the concepts of the NOLA award while working at a Pupil Referral Unit (Horizons, 2008). The NOLA award is based upon long standing research into Outdoor learning’s impact on personal development and continued to be developed by trialling it in practice within a Special Needs School (Horizon, 2011). One of the main aims of the NOLA award is to capture and celebrate the personal and social change created by outdoor learning, in a measurable manner. The desire to quantify a primarily qualitative change was born out of countless times of not being able to evidence developments. In comparison to mainstream curricula Outdoor learning therefore appeared ineffective.

The current format of the NOLA award and resources, were developed by Dr Hopper, with support from Heatree Activity Centre. A national steering group was formed in 2014 to further the direction of the award and a link with IOL created which has led to NOLA being available as a FREE resource from 2018 for all involved in outdoor learning.

It offers…

NOLA Logo

 

The National Outdoor Learning Award is designed to celebrate and capture personal development in any outdoor learning experience. The award focuses on 18 personal development skills which stem from six core values: associated with “safety, learning, respect, yourself, others and the environment”. The model is simple, but it is this simplicity that makes it so robust and adaptable.

The award has been trialled and found to be effective in a number of different outdoor learning contexts (schools, residential centres, National Park groups). It can be used with different ages, needs, outdoor environments (on-site, woodland, hill, sea etc), different activities (adventure, field) and with single and multiple session programmes.

The award can help outdoor educators develop their own planning and delivery as it supports both outcome and process. The award supports reflective practice both in and on action. At the heart of the award is the pedagogical practice of personalised learning. Consequently the learners themselves develop high levels of motivation, esteem, skill, knowledge and desire to learn.

The Record Sheet itself acts both as a way of recording the learning and as the certificate to ultimately celebrate the learners achievements. A badge can accompany the certificate. Programme leaders (Teachers, Managers etc) can use the Record Sheets as both quantitative and qualitative evidence of learning.

Is it really FREE to download and use?

Yes, a partnership between IOL and the creators of NOLA (Dr. Roger Hopper and Heatree Activity Centre) have ensured NOLA is a FREE resource. Simply complete your details at http://nola.education to gain access to the record sheets.

Trialling the award with other providers has shown that administration and use of the award is easily understood and implemented. However, if required, initial support and CPD development can be provided – contact us via the NOLA website.

How NOLA can help your organisation…

Use of the National Outdoor Learning Award as part of your organisation supports marketing. It also helps develop local and national social capital. Furthermore, using an IOL supported award links your provision to national recognition.

It is particularly useful for…

The National Outdoor Learning Award is particularly useful for any organisation (including sole providers) that is passionate about capturing and celebrating outdoor learning in a very non-intrusive way. Whilst assessment is inevitable with any award, with the NOLA award the focus is on personalised learning and self-assessment through reflective practice. Developing reflective practice in learners supports a lifelong skill at the heart of outdoor learning.

A model for change and a model of change…

Achieving the NOLA award is not a series of hoops to jump through but a model for change and a model of change. As a model for change it has the capacity to help us develop our outdoor professional practice and as a model of change it has the possibility to evidence (capture) and celebrate the impact of outdoor learning.

References
Hopper, R. (2008) Excluded and Challenging but Able to Learn. Institute for Outdoor Learning. Horizons (44).
Hopper, R. (2012) Teaching Skills as a Core Part of a School Curriculum. Institute for Outdoor Learning. Horizons (58).

Funding future developments…

NOLA is currently a free resource from its creators Dr. Roger Hopper and Heatree Activity Centre, supported by IOL. The Institute is particularly interested to hear from funding partners to enable development of an APP and wider sharing of this valued resource.

 

 

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