Outdoor education can be simply defined as experiential learning in, for, or about the outdoors. The term ‘outdoor education’, however, is used broadly to refer to a range of organized activities that take place in a variety of ways in predominantly outdoor environments. Common definitions of outdoor education are difficult to achieve because interpretations vary according to culture, philosophy, and local conditions.
Outdoor education is often referred to as synonymous with adventure education, adventure programming, and outdoor learning, outdoor school, adventure therapy, adventure recreation, adventure tourism, expeditionary learning, challenge education, experiential education, environmental education, Forest schools and wilderness education.
Consensus about the meaning of these terms is also difficult to achieve. However, outdoor education often uses or draws upon these related elements and/or informs these areas. The hallmark of outdoor education is its focus on the “outdoor” side of this education; whereas adventure education would focus on the adventure side and environmental education would focus on environmental. Wilderness education involves expeditions into wilderness “where man is but a visitor.” For more information, see Outdoor education definitions.
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