Over the past few years, outdoor learning, adventure-based learning, and experiential learning have gained popularity, maybe COVID has hampered it, but it is steadily climbing in popularity again. As a result, I frequently receive inquiries from individuals such as teachers who are tired of traditional teaching methods and business owners with game farms who want to offer school camps or team-building activities and programmes. While I want to support the growth of this industry, I have mixed feelings because these individuals often lack the necessary resources and knowledge to offer high-quality programs. Every outdoor or adventure site has its unique strengths and weaknesses, ranging from beautiful facilities and diverse activity offerings to exceptional facilitators. However, it is rare to find a provider that meets all the criteria.
When organisations and schools inquire about campsites, they often fail to ask about the educational structure and pedagogical approach. Pedagogy is the theory and practice of learning, and it plays a vital role in shaping the actions, judgments, and teaching strategies of teachers and facilitators. The pedagogy they adopt considers various factors, such as the social, political, and psychological development of learners, theories of learning, and individual students’ backgrounds and interests. Pedagogy is an intentional process that influences every aspect of the learning experience.
Clients such as schools and companies are typically not concerned with pedagogical objectives, schools normally feel that they get enough formal learning in the classroom. Instead, they focus on providing students with fun and enjoyable experiences which they should also learn something from, forgetting that even these need a pedagogical approach. People (children more specifically) learn regardless of the intention, and their experiences can shape their thoughts and behavior in significant ways.
It is crucial to consider pedagogy in the design and implementation of outdoor learning and adventure-based programs to ensure that students receive a high-quality and meaningful experience.
The adventure institute offers integrated training solutions to optimise the immersive learning experience offered by outdoor learning centres. It is not just about play!