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IOL Blog

IOL Blog - Comment from the Institute

 

24

Apr

2018

Joined Up and Affective!

IOL CEO Andy Robinsons' - 'Perspective' piece in Horizons magazine 81

‘Affective’
(Adjective) Relating to moods, feelings, and attitudes. English Oxford Living Dictionaries

You might reasonably accuse me of banging on a bit about the need for affective experiences in and through the outdoors.  It’s not only me getting excited about the role of outdoor learning experiences that involve significant feeling or emotion.  Natural England’s Strategic Research Group are also clear that environmentally sustainable behaviour and healthy lifestyles are a product of affective experiences in nature.  The concept of Nature Connectedness, so clearly spelt out in DEFRA’s recently published 25 year environment plan, is based on affective experiences leading to personal relevance and care for the natural environment.

So what are we doing about it?  Well quite a few things actually and I’m keen that we all consider the role we play in ensuring that the role of outdoor learning is well understood and valued.

 

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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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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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18

Aug

2016

Creating a sustainable culture of outdoor learning in schools

The launch of the reported findings of the largest recent study of outdoor learning in schools, 'Natural Connections', is a helpful contribution to our understanding of the impact of outdoor learning in schools and the key factors that influence positive outcomes.  Less helpful from my perspective is the introduction of yet another acronym to the teacher's lexicon!  I fear that we may add a good deal of confusion with the introduction of the term 'Learning in the Natural Environment' or LINE, as a way of sub-dividing outdoor learning.

Acronyms to one side, the Natural Connections report is worth a read (full report). If you prefer to listen to others describe some key insights Natural England have produced a useful 10 minute film

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