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Evaluating and measuring impact in Outdoor Learning

Proving impact and improving teaching

How does Outdoor Learning impact on pupil attainment?

The most robust evidence we can point to comes from the meta-analysis carried out by the Education Endowment Foundation. They have concluded that;

  • Overall, studies of adventure learning interventions consistently show positive benefits on academic learning;
  • On average, pupils who participate in adventure learning interventions make approximately four additional months’ progress over the course of a year;
  • There is also evidence of an impact on non-cognitive outcomes such as self-confidence;
  • The evidence suggests that the impact is greater for more vulnerable and older learners (teenagers), longer courses (more than a week), and those in a ‘wilderness’ setting, though other types of intervention still show some positive impacts.

This global evidence is obviously very encouraging. This has led to us at NYOLS to look at how we can measure our impact on attainment.

How do we measure the impact of a course at NYOLS?

We employ a broad range of means to measure the impact of our courses; this includes academic research, qualitative feedback and quantitative evaluation by both pupils and Teachers.

Here is what we have found

The most recent academic research carried out at NYOLS is described here.

 

At Bewerley Park we invite all students to give quantitative feedback using the Centrefeedback.org online evaluation tool. This asks a series of questions developed by Dr. Randal Williams in support of his thesis ‘The Impact of Residential Adventure Education on Primary School Pupils’. The data from this feeds into a national database of results curated by the Association of Heads of Outdoor Education Centres (AHOEC).

Here are just some of our findings so far:

  • 94.9% of students said they did things they thought that they couldn’t as a result of their course
  • 94.8% of students said they learned how to look after themselves and be more independent when here

All staff and students have a chance to give Qualitative feedback. You can read some excellent feedback in our testimonials page here. We ask every group leader and member of visiting staff to provide feedback on their course so that we can constantly fine-tune our approach to better meet your needs.

A good example is what the pupils of Newby and Scalby School said to us this year. When asked “What were the key things they had learned?” they said

“Be prepared to always have a go”

“You can push yourself out of your comfort zone”

“That everybody has their own person inside and you learn about each other living together”

“How to set my mind to do something”

“When you fail on a challenge first but find a place in you mind to persevere and try again”

“I have learned about other people and how to support each other”