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IOL Blog

IOL Blog - Comment from the Institute

 

1

Sep

2017

The purpose of your outdoor learning practice

What have you done since the challenge at the 2016 IOL National Conference when  Valerie Hannon asked ‘what is the purpose of outdoor learning?’ and challenged us with the evidence of need for a changed approach to learning in a rapidly changing global community.

So what is the purpose of your outdoor learning practice?  For those working with schools it can be very easy with the regular work of the annual school cycle, to allow sole focus on the immediate learning programme content.  For those working to develop the effectiveness of businesses or provide impactful leisure experiences, the pressure of generating the right level of income can also lead to a short term focus.  Finding the space and asking such high level questions with potentially hard and far reaching answers, requires a change in mindset.  How do you achieve that?

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Article rating: 5.0

4

Jan

2017

It’s all about social mobility

Ministers’ of state come and go and those with a portfolio for education and training are no different.  There are obviously many challenges associated with frequent change of leadership in this way.  A significant one for those of us seeking a change to the value placed on outdoor learning is the emphasis and terminology associated with some of the key outcomes of high quality outdoor learning. 

The increasing focus on ‘character education’ driven by the previous administration appears to be gently fading....or is it?  My experience at a recent forum in Westminster was that though terminology and emphasis may have shifted the desired outcomes remain the same.  It is those desired outcomes of higher levels of educational engagement and attainment, increased employability, commitment to a role in wider society and responsibility for the environment we live in, that also remain key outcomes from well designed and facilitated outdoor learning activity.

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Number of views (1133)
Article rating: 3.9

1

Dec

2016

Developing local research hubs

A good deal of time and energy over the last few years has gone into seeking to influence national government and policymakers with a view to expanding outdoor learning's impact on U.K. society.  This has seen some tremendous progress in some areas, probably most notably in Scotland with the adoption of the curriculum for excellence and the role Outdoor Learning plays in this.

There continues to be a significant amount of effort directed towards drawing on research to influence policy and certainly much research funding relating to the outdoors has been spent in support of this.  More recently though I believe there is an increasing recognition of the need to strengthen the 'third leg of the research, policy & practice stool'.  A recognition that there is a very real need to identify and develop the use of good practice in a growing use of outdoor learning.  The Natural Connections project has been probably the most significant indicator of this changing emphasis.

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Number of views (1163)
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19

Sep

2016

It’s all about your team...

There is no doubt that what is often called the ‘war for talent’ is becoming harder in the outdoor learning sector. With changing business models, a general push towards healthy lifestyles, expanding initiatives such as the National Citizen Service and a number of other factors I suggest that ensuring you are able to deliver the right outdoor learning services at the right time is becoming more challenging. It is certainly worth considering the way you engage with potential new members of your team.

Whilst the Institute continues to provide the hugely popular jobs pages on its website, this is of course only a part of the story. What does the journey look like for someone considering joining you and your organisation? How well informed are they about the content of the roles you want to fill? Are they aware of where they are in the recruitment process, at any given time? Do they get supportive constructive feedback if they are unsuccessful? How are they made to feel over the first few days and weeks as a new joiner? ....and how do they engage with you in the first place?

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22

Aug

2016

Obesity and the outdoors

The recently published Westminster government's plan to tackle childhood obesity contains some encouraging elements that encourage regular exercise. The response of the press though has largely been around the responsibilities of the food and drinks industry and the retailers. Surely the debate should be about why people don't adopt healthy lifestyles and not how much tax should be levied on sugary drinks. It's worth reading what is a fairly short paper on the plan to tackle childhood obesity.

The Institute will be responding to the associated consultation. If you have strong views you want represented let me know. If you want to explore this further catch me at the IOL National Conference in October.

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Number of views (1448)
Article rating: 5.0
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