Learning in Outdoor Education (EDUH4052)

Engagement with natural environments in Australia forms a significant part of growing up for many Australians, whether in formal education; organised leisure activities; or unstructured experiences of leisure and sport. A growing number of overseas tourists also visit principally to experience Australia’s unique natural environments.

Outdoor education is an important aspect of many school curriculums around the world. Learning in Outdoor Education examines the nature and significance of the learning that takes place in natural environments, with a particular focus on what and how people learn in the outdoors.

While the unit does aim to build knowledge and develop understanding of specific areas of natural significance in NSW, its principal focus is the nature of the learning experiential education. Bushwalking and camping field trips immerse students in natural environments, and these experiences are complemented by a lecture program that maximises their learning and builds on specific knowledge gained 'in the field'.

Assessment tasks that are undertaken during, and as a result of, the two field trips form the core learning experiences of the unit, while additional activities are provided to further enrich students' learning and understanding of the topic.

Field trips

The first field trip is a one day hike along the rugged coastal terrain in the Royal National Park, the world's second oldest national park. The trip includes two in situ tutorials, and an examination of the coastal ecology.

The highlight of the class in the second field trip which incorporates a three–day expedition to the beautiful World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. Located 2 hours train trip west of Sydney the Blue Mountains is one of Australia's true natural wonders and contains an inspiring mix of rainforest, canyons, tall forests and heathlands. It's been described as a nature lover's paradise with an abundance of colourful bird and animal life, not to mention the greatest concentration of eucalypt diversity on the continent.

This field trip includes two nights' bunk accommodation in cabins, day hikes and a number of in situ lectures and tutorials.

View the experience of the 2012 field trip:

EDUH4052 field trip

About the course coordinator

Dr Wayne Cotton