IOL Conference on Saturday 14th October - an adventure online!
A Shared Vision for a Better Outdoor Learning World’
The conference theme was developing, sharing and envisaging Outdoor Learning that will make a positive difference now, and in the future. We tied in with World Standards Day to highlight how recognised and accepted standards are built on collaborative working. Agreed professional, occupational and benchmark standards are testament to the power of cooperation and the belief that we are stronger than the sum of our parts.
In 2023 World Standards Day had an emphasis on UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. IOL has sustainability as a 'Golden Thread' and is working to make planetary and organisational sustainability run through all we do.
Our first ever on-line conference format
This was our first online conference and received positive feedback and constructive comments to improve the experience for both attendees and presenters. Being an Outdoor Learning organisation it was nerve wracking to take the on-line route. We are still absorbing and reflecting but the format seems a valuable addition to the IOL networking and conference offer.
Importantly, the conference proved inclusive which was a key aim. Some attendees remarked it was welcoming to attend especially as we could offer it for £20 or less to our members. It also had a global reach both in terms of presenters and attendees - connections were made across our Outdoor Learning World whilst minimising travel and associated environmental impacts.
The conference platform was provided by Events Air.
Are you frustrated that you missed the conference?
Well, worry no more! It is now possible to travel back in time to attend the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Institute for Outdoor Learning 2023 Conference. To access the recordings of over 30 high quality outdoor learning focused workshops and 4 great, guest speakers, follow this link.
The guest speakers gave four very different presentations, each inspirational in their own way.
Manjul Prateeti opened the conference with her reflections on her personal outdoor learning journey from growing up in India, studying in Edinburgh, over to work in Australia, via America – some of it on an Enfield Bullet motorbike!
Robin Millar, MP for Aberconwy, shared his work chairing the All Party Parliamentary Group for Outdoor Learning. He highlighted the importance of outdoor learning as something that is of lifelong value and reminding us that ‘learning happens in timeless moments, not moments in time’.
After lunch Rich Alderton gave us a perspective from his experience of global business leadership with his presentation on developing a culture of Adaptability. Encouraging us not to roll up like hedgehogs in the face of change by understanding out fear and anxiety and moving to confidence and making a difference.
Catrin Thomas completed the guest speaker presentations with entertaining us with her stunning photos of Antarctica, her tales of penguins and describing her role of Field Officer, in the British Antarctic Survey. She addressed her own dilemma about travelling and living there and its sustainability, with the success of penguin conservation and enabling research into climate change.
During the day there were 4 workshop sessions with 30 different workshops to choose from under the themes of Sustainability, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Community, Theory, Standards and workforce.
The commitment to Outdoor Learning on the day was tremendous as over 250 people gave up their Saturday to attend, the guest speakers and workshop providers all gave their wisdom, knowledge and for free. The workshop presenters are recognised for their expertise in their respective fields and attendees had a plentiful choice across the spectrum and depth of our Sector. All credit to them for engaging with the unfamiliar software. Paul and Alex from Events Air, did their very best all day to respond to ‘Help’ buttons for us all.
Points meant prizes!
During the day points were awarded for signing up to and completing goals – hotly contested during the day but at 5.44pm (exactly), as the ‘Not A Hero’s Journey’ finished and the conference closed, the top three on the points score board were Tim Taylor, Jim Whitaker and Chloe Kinsella. Congratulations to all three and they will be receiving a £30 voucher of their choice.
Thanks to our Conference sponsors and exhibitors who helped to make it happen.
So what next after the Annual Conference?
The IOL is continuing to develop its dual offer of both online and in-person events. Please look out for both Sector Specialist Group events beginning with the Bushcraft Conference in November and Adventure For All in December, and the Geographical Groups kicking off with the North West England conference in January.
We also have professional opportunity available through the Train-the-Trainer Delivering Experiential Learning at Plas y Brenin in 13th-16th January
Details of all these in person events can be found here in Horizons, on the IOL website and in the IOL Newsletter as well as through Groups.IO email.
IOL Webinar Series
The programme will be published with the launch of our new website very soon, with the series on online workshops being held January to May 2024. As with the conference workshops we will bring together both breadth and depth from across the Outdoor Learning Sector. These are free to members and open to non-members at a small fee. They are another way to network, share and develop practice.