Lifelong Learning Platform | LLLP - European Civil Society for Education

Elm Magazine – Taking adult education out of the classroom

What does taking adult education out of the classroom mean, both literally and figuratively?

Elm Magazines latest newsletter teases apart this question, looking at the potential of outdoor learning for providing adults with a fruitful setting to develop their personal, social and academic skills. What is it about learning outdoors that sets it apart to in-class learning then?

For one, sitting in a classroom for hours can make students feel jaded, leading to a situation whereby concentrating becomes difficult, and the all too often clock-watching exercise begins. Research has shown that learning outdoors has, in contrast, the unique capacity to evoke a feeling of ease, while also stimulating higher levels of energy.

Importantly, for learning, gaining new skills or knowledge comes more easily in settings whereby the context corresponds to a feeling of ease.

Looking further, experienced adult educators who engage with outdoor learning  note that students learn the content better outdoors, have better learning skills and social skills, are more relaxed and do not skip lessons on the pretext of sickness. Who said that adults cannot benefit from learning outdoors on an equal footing to children?

Indeed, outdoor learning has been a permanent fixture in youth work, for example, and for the most part research into it has focused primarily on children and youth, with adults being somewhat neglected as learners. Taking this as a fundamental point – it is refreshing to see Elm Magazine highlighting the value of such learning for adults.