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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : Education

Undergraduate Course: Learning across the curriculum: On foot through Edinburgh (EDUA10181)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryLearning across the curriculum offers aspiring educators of all kinds the tools with which they can incorporate outdoor learning into their teaching and curriculum planning.
Course description Rationales for learning outdoors
Learning across the curriculum
Experiential learning in outdoor contexts
Place- and community-based education
Sustainability education
Safety and group management in the outdoors

Learning across the curriculum offers aspiring educators of all kinds the tools with which they can incorporate outdoor learning into their teaching and curriculum planning. Despite the increasing bodies of research and policy that highlight the educational, social and health benefits of outdoor learning in the development of young people, many educators are not well placed to support this form of learning. Learning across the curriculum is offered as an initial step towards assisting aspirant educators to incorporate outdoor learning into their teaching and curriculum planning. It does not aim to train students as outdoor specialists, but aims to provide them with some understanding of the benefits, processes and skills related to learning in the outdoors. This interdisciplinary course is designed to give students the basic competencies with which to teach and learn across the curriculum in an outdoor context. In terms of educational policy, the course reflects the recommendations of Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning (Education Scotland, 2010).
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Bus fares to outdoor sites (approx £20) plus packed lunches
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the broad concepts underpinning curricular outdoor learning, and be aware of the ways in which Curriculum for Excellence (and other national curricula) and outdoor learning may inform each other;
  2. be able to understand and apply principles of experiential learning to teaching young people in outdoor (and indoor) contexts;
  3. understand principles of place- and community-based education, and have developed an awareness of key issues in education for environmental sustainability;
  4. be aware of safety issues pertinent to teaching and learning with groups of young people in outdoor settings;
  5. have developed a critical awareness of educational issues relating to outdoor learning and its interdisciplinary applications.
Reading List
Baker, M. (2005). Landfullness in adventure-based programming: Promoting reconnection to the land. Journal of Experiential Education, 27(3), 267-276.
Beames, S., Higgins, P. & Nicol, R. (2011). Learning outside the classroom. New York: Routledge.
Beames, S., Atencio, M. & Ross, H. (2009). Taking excellence outdoors. Scottish Educational Review, 41(2), 32-45.
Dewey, J. (1938/1997). Experience and education. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Higgins, P. & Nicol, R. (2008). Outdoor education. In T. Bryce & W. Humes (Eds.), Scottish education: Beyond devolution (3rd Ed) (pp. 540-545). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
HSE. (2006). Five steps to risk assessment. Retrieved from on June 26, 2008.
Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Learning and Teaching Scotland. (2009). Curriculum for Excellence. Retrieved July 6, 2009, from
Learning and Teaching Scotland. (2007). Taking learning outdoors. Retrieved August 24, 2008, from
Learning and Teaching Scotland. (2010). Curriculum for Excellence through outdoor learning. Retrieved April 21, 2010 from
Leonard, A. (2010). The story of stuff: How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health - and a vision for change. London: Constable.
Orr, D.W. (2004). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Washington: Island Press.
Smith, G. & Sobel, D. (2010). Place-and community-based education in schools. London: Routledge.
Thorburn, M. & Allison, P. (2010). Are we ready to go outdoors now? The prospects for outdoor education during a period of curriculum renewal in Scotland. Curriculum Journal, 21(1), 97-108.
Wattchow, B. & Brown, M. (2011). A pedagogy of place: Outdoor education for a changing world. Clayton, Victoria: Monash University.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. Learn to search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding by learning in authentic learning contexts

2. Become more open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking about how all places have an inherent curriculum

3. Increase capacity to be an independent learner, who takes responsibility for their own learning, and who is committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement

4. Become more intellectually curious, and able to sustain intellectual interest, regarding sites for learning that are beyond the classroom walls

5. Learn to make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding of conventional and more radical approaches to delivering a curriculum

6. Be able to more flexibly transfer knowledge, learning, skills and abilities from one context to another (especially between indoor and outdoor settings)

7. Understand social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and issues, and how they might be addressed by outdoor learning pedagogies
Special Arrangements University of Edinburgh students will not receive credit for this course.
Keywordsoutdoor; learning; curriculum; journey; inter-disciplinary
Course organiserMs Kate McHugh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1589
Course secretaryMs Kameliya Skerleva
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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