Benefits of Learning Outside the Classroom

“Learning activities outside the classroom are often authentic, hands-on, interactive, and build on classroom learning.”

The purpose of school is to prepare students for life beyond school. Today’s society has a greater need for self-awareness and technical skills. One of the easiest ways to help students improve is to incorporate learning experiences outside of the classroom. Taking classroom learning out can help enrich students’ educational experience by showing them real-world applications of the theories they are learning in school.

What to study outside of class?

Learning outside the classroom is the use of places other than school for teaching and learning. It’s about getting children and young people outside, giving them challenging, exciting and different experiences to help them learn.

Venue can refer to a location, activity, or workshop, but no matter where learning outside the classroom takes place, the purpose is the same. Providing students with real-life learning experiences helps them succeed in life beyond school.

Learning experiences outside the classroom differ from those that arise through conventional teaching methods because students can be encouraged to engage in more soft skills such as teamwork, leadership, and compromise in your learning environment.

Conventional teaching methods focus on repetition and memorization to educate students and are beneficial for sharing new knowledge as well as teaching students who learn best by listening. However, conventional teaching does not encourage students to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills like learning outside the classroom can. Learning outside of the classroom not only deepens your understanding of challenging concepts, but can also provide context for learning in many fields.

Direct benefits of learning outside the classroom

Learning outside the classroom can help teachers create excitement for learning, provide real-world context, and expose students to a variety of STEM careers.

Students who experience learning outside of the classroom benefit from increased self-esteem and become more engaged with their learning. Evidence shows that learning outside the classroom can help raise achievement, improve classroom behavior, and improve engagement for students, including those who have difficulty integrating into the classroom environment. An extensive report published by Ofsted found that learning outside the classroom makes a significant contribution to raising standards and improving pupils’ personal, social and emotional development.

In 2016, the School Travel Forum conducted an independent study to find out how field trips and learning outside the classroom impact student development. They found that 60% of teachers saw an increase in students’ confidence, resilience, and well-being after participating in the field trip, and 61% of students scored higher than expected.

The research also found that while most teachers wished they could provide more learning opportunities outside the classroom, 67% cited cost and organization as their main obstacles.

External benefits of learning outside the classroom
A level of cost-benefit analysis takes place when deciding to organize a school trip or other learning activity outside of the classroom. Costs associated with coordinating learning outside of the classroom may include lodging, transportation, insurance, academic conference fees, and time spent filling out paperwork. Benefits often include what students expect to gain from the trip, such as a better understanding of a concept or topic.

While cost-benefit analysis can be helpful in making decisions, teachers often forget to take into account the many external and internal benefits that arise from learning outside the classroom. These may include a reduction in behavioral problems, a more accepting attitude towards cultural differences and diversity or arousing curiosity about future career prospects. All of these are examples of benefits that have a positive impact but cannot be easily quantified. For this reason, organizing a field trip or other learning experience outside of the classroom may cost more than it actually does.

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