It has been generally conceived that outdoor learning or experiential learning enables the student to learn better. In order to validate this concept Ulrich Dettweiler and his team of researchers conducted an experiment at Technical University of Munich. They found that teaching science subject’s outdoors increases student motivation. As part of their study, 300 students participated in the program which is based on the curriculum for science subjects in secondary level I. Students are prepared for the one-week stay in the classroom. This is then continued on site during the research week, culminating in a two-day research expedition with experiments.
Both before and after the course, the students completed a questionnaire on their satisfaction and overall motivation in relation to their autonomy for a study developed at TUM. At the end of the week, the students again shared their experiences during the outdoor class.
Dr. Dettweiler concludes that outdoor instruction with explorative learning methodology significantly promotes the attitudes of students toward learning, i.e. their intrinsic motivation. ‘Explorative’ means nothing more than simply giving students the freedom to discover the subject matter through independently organized experiments. These outdoor dynamics, which provide a strong boost to more situational interest for science and engagement with the subject, can be evoked in occasional outdoor instruction sessions as well. The instruction method and model developed has the potential to change the way science is taught in schools, particularly rural areas.