Why learning outside the classroom?

Why LOtC

Learning outside the classroom is about raising young people’s achievement through an organised, powerful approach to learning in which direct experience is of prime importance.

Boy on a climbing wall - learning outside the classroom

Meaningful learning occurs through acquiring skills through real life hands-on activities

This is not only about what we learn, but most importantly, how and where we learn. It is about improving young people’s understanding, skills, values, personal and social development and can act as a vehicle to develop young people’s capacity and motivation to learn.

Real-world learning brings the benefits of formal and informal education together and reinforces what good educationalist have always known: that the most meaningful learning occurs through acquiring knowledge and skills through real-life, practical or hands-on activities.

There is a wealth of evidence which clearly demonstrates the benefits for young people’s learning and personal development outside the classroom. In summary, learning outside the classroom:

  • tackles social mobility, giving children new and exciting experiences that inspire them to reach their true potential. These real world experiences raise aspirations, equipping young people with the skills they need to become active and responsible citizens and shape a fit and motivated workforce.

  • addresses educational inequality, re-motivating children who do not thrive in the traditional classroom environment, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with Special Educational Needs. Young people who experience learning outside the classroom as a regular part of their school life benefit from increased self esteem, and become more engaged in their education both inside and outside the classroom walls.
  • supports improved standards back INSIDE the classroom, raising attainment, reducing truancy and improving discipline. Learning outside the classroom is known to contribute significantly to raising standards & improving pupils’ personal, social & emotional development.

Find out more about research studies which reinforce and illustrate the wide-ranging benefits for young people on our research pages.

In 2008, an Ofsted Report into learning outside the classroom also highlighted the positive benefits and impact on raising achievement.

The rest of this section ‘makes the case’ for learning outside the classroom in more detail by considering its impact across a number of different areas. Use the headings in the the navigation bar on the right and explore some of the key arguments that support the development of frequent, continuous and progressive learning experiences outside the classroom for all the young people.