Evaluation of the Adventure Learning Trial

Evaluation of the Adventure Learning Trial

Can adventure learning improve students’ skills, behaviour and academic results?

Researchers: Professor Tim Jay, Jean Harris-Evan, Ben Willis, Sarah Reaney-Wood

Project date

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is funding a randomised control trial (RCT) to assess if and how adventure learning effects character development and attainment. The Adventure Learning Programme focuses on pupils in year 9 and in each school, a group of 24 pupils will be randomly assigned to one of three groups: the Outward Bound ® group, the Commando Joe’s group or a control group.

In the Outward Bound group, pupils will combine challenging, adventurous activities such as canoeing, hiking and wild camping, in an intensive five-day residential course delivered in one of five locations across Wales, England and Scotland. Instruction will be delivered by trained outdoor learning facilitators in collaboration with accompanying staff from the pupils' school. Learning strategies such as growth mindset theory, goal-setting and feedback will be used by instructors during the course to enhance learning.

Pupils in the Commando Joe’s group will similarly combine challenging physical activity with the use of metacognitive skills and instructor-facilitated reflection sessions to try to improve non-cognitive outcomes and attainment. Commando Joe’s trained instructors are military veterans, and this programme will be delivered over five consecutive days on the school site.

Pupils in the control group will not undergo adventure learning activities as part of the trial.

Sheffield Hallam University is independently evaluating this programme in 99 schools. The evaluation aims to identify what effect outdoor learning has on character development, engagement, behaviour and attainment using a mixed methods approach.

Read more about the Adventure learning trial of EEF’s web page: https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/projects-and-evaluation/projects/adventure-learning


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