We have acquired a PDF of the research document “Raising Achievement through the Environment: The Case for Field Work and Field Centres” and have added it to the National Guidance research and reports section as document 2.4f.
Although this document is over ten years old, it is a valuable addition to the case for outdoor learning, in that it was able to demonstrate that pupils can learn more in the field than they can within the classroom alone.
40 pupils from a year 6 group underwent a field study course at a centre, involving learning in groups in the field. 45 pupils remained at school as a control group, following the same curriculum topic – the geography of rivers at Key Stage 2. The control group mirrored the learning format but remained within the classroom. Both groups showed improved levels of knowledge, but, in understanding and skills, the centre-based pupils out-performed the control group by a factor of four.
In-depth analysis of the data and interviews suggested that fieldwork improves memory (“it puts pictures into your mind”), improves understanding, improves depth of meaning, improves awareness of personal growth, and improves motivation to learn.
You can read the document here.