Effects of Outdoor Learning on Student Achievement: A Cross-National Cooperation

Nikbay Arslantaş Ç., Bavlı B.


  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Aksaray
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.113


Problem Durumu

Although educational practices have been undergoing change and transformation depending on educational philosophies, depending on the change in essence, the center of learning continues to be the school and classroom environment. It is accepted that teaching-learning process is occurred in formal settings in conventional classrooms at the schools. Although the innovations in the learning method, learning environment, teaching material, assessment and evaluation, the classroom as a learning environment continues to be the only center of learning. In particular, the COVID-19 Pandemic has clearly presented that learning can take place outside of school and in a virtual learning environment. However, out of school learning is not only include virtual learning environments but also school based outdoor learning environments. Learning occurred out of conventional learning environment is called Outdoor Learning, Learning Outside the Classroom, Outdoor Adventure Education and Place-based Education (Mackenzie, Son, & Eitel, 2018). Outdoor learning is an activity that goes beyond changing the learning environment or learning outside of the classroom at the basic level. Outdoor learning provides learners real life concrete, multisensory and interaction-based learning experiences (Jordet, 2010; Knapp, 1996). Outdoor learning not only contribute learner motivation and engagement, but also donate deep and efficient learning (Fägerstam, 2014; Mackenzie, Son, & Eitel, 2018; Parry, 2011; Scott, Boyd, & Colquhoun, 2013). Authentic learning settings and real-life learning practices in outdoor learning also boost problem solving and critical thinking skills of learner which is 21st century skills (Christie, Beames and Higgins, 2016; Ernst and Stanek, 2006). In line with the nature of the outdoor learning, outdoor learning enhances relationships, peer interaction and collaboration which is resulted with learner academic achievement (Fägerstam, 2014; Hattie, 2009; Sharpe, 2014). This result, which is also compatible with the purpose of education, is very important in today's world where learning tools and conditions individualized and isolated the learners.


The study which is a part of cross-national European project, was conducted with the cooperation of five secondary-level schools located in various European countries, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain. During the project, outdoor learning activities was operated in five lessons namely Mathematics, Biology, Literature, Visual Arts and History. The main objective of the activities was to explore the achievement of students taking part in the project. To address this objective, researchers adopted quasi-experimental research design. To include learner in the study, researcher managed purposeful sampling method. The study consisted of five students from each country for every lesson, so twenty-five pupils from all partner countries in each mobility, making up one hundred twenty-five ninth- and tenth-grade students (Age Range: 16-18) for all five mobilities in total. During data collection process, researcher presented given pre-tests and post-tests to students. Quantitative descriptive statistics was operated to analyse data in the study. In addition to the test means and standard deviations, paired-samples t-tests, at alpha level of 0.05, were conducted to compare the scores in a detailed way, which would provide more concrete data for the credibility of the study and for its future implications. With respect to ethical considerations, ethics committee approval was acquired.

Beklenen/Geçici Sonuçlar

This research project, which incorporated five mobilities targeting a different academic focus, was carried out with the involvement of one hundred twenty-five secondary level students. In each mobility, on the first day, a group of twenty-five students from the project population took the pre-test, and when their inclusion in outdoor activities ended, they were given the post-test. When the mean scores of the pre- and post-tests were compared, an increase in students’ performance could be noted. However, to determine whether this difference was significant, the Kolmogorov Smirnov test of normality and the paired-samples t-test were performed. Regarding to impact level of the outdoor education in all disciplines the paired-samples t-tests presented high values. Integration of the outdoor learning activities into the curriculum clearly revealed that achievement of learners increased following the activities.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Cross-national Project, Outdoor Education, Secondary School, Students