Exploring Students’ Experiences of Learning in Outdoor Places on a University Campus

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 36: The Place of Learning and Teaching

July, 2013, 534 pages
Published by
Frielick, S., Buissink-Smith, N., Wyse, P., Billot, J., Hallas, J. and Whitehead, E.

The creation and renovation of learning spaces is currently a priority for educators working in higher education. While indoor learning environments continue to develop, one place rarely considered as integral to learning, teaching and research is the outdoor campus. The research reported in this paper used photographic images and autobiographical stories to explore the contribution of the outdoor campus to student learning. The findings indicate that students, who frequented outdoor campus places and made use of the facilities and the landscape, were afforded opportunities for holistic and transformative learning that contributed to a sense of wellbeing and belonging. The outdoor campus is a precious resource because it influences the overall student learning experience and impacts on the quality of graduates.

Key words: Outdoor places, higher education, and student learning