Outdoor adventure learning typically involves outdoor experiences, such as climbing or mountaineering; survival, ropes or assault courses; or outdoor sports, such as orienteering, sailing and canoeing. These can be organised as intensive residential courses or shorter courses run in schools or local outdoor centres.
Adventure education usually involves collaborative learning experiences with a high level of physical (and often emotional) challenge. Practical problem-solving, explicit reflection and discussion of thinking and emotion (see also Metacognition and self-regulation) may also be involved.
Adventure learning interventions typically do not include a formal academic component, so this summary does not include forest schools or field trips.
The evidence on adventure learning interventions is moderately secure. The range of effect sizes is fairly wide but all the studies included in the meta-analysis show a positive effect.
The costs vary depending on the type of activity that is carried out. A sailing adventure or the mountain using ropes will have different financial needs. In general, the costs are estimated as moderate.
Before you implement this strategy in your learning environment, consider the following:
A wide range of adventure activities are linked with increased academic achievement.
Experiences that last over a week tend to have greater impact and tend to produce effects of a longer duration.
It is important to work with well-trained and well-qualified staff as adventure experiences can pose very different physical and emotional risks to those experienced in schools.
Outdoor adventure experiences could have positive impacts on self-confidence, self-efficacy and motivation. How will you maximise the impact on learning by ensuring pupils apply these skills when they return to the classroom?