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The Scottish Real World Learning Partnership wants every child and young person in Scotland to benefit from regular, sustained and inspiring outdoor learning and play. Enjoying first-hand experience of Scotland’s environment and cultural heritage should be a fundamental part of a full and complete upbringing.

The Partnership is a coalition of organisations working with children and young people, along with their teachers, leaders, parents, and community workers.

What is Real World Learning?

Real World Learning primarily refers to outdoor, place-based experience that creates learning. Effective Real World Learning can be:

  • interdisciplinary, multi-faceted, cross-curricular
  • holistic: engaging heart, head, hand
  • connected to issues, lifestyle choices, values
  • fun, inspirational
  • cultural

It is closely linked to Outdoor Learning, in its broadest interpretation. It includes the full spectrum of outdoor settings, and embraces activity from the informal and playful to frontier adventure.

Real World Learning can be encouraged in school grounds, gardens, local greenspace, country parks, farms, city farms, community gardens, estates, allotments, rivers and streams, museums & castles, seashore & beaches, seas & lochs, in the air, nature reserves, wild landscapes…

“I thought the view was beautiful. In one place you can see the loch and the sea and some hills. Its better than learning about seabirds and beaches and history in a classroom, because you can actually see things for real.” (Primary girl)

What are the benefits?

As well as being completely socially inclusive, outdoor learning can:

  • Inspire and change lives
  • Instil a sense of pride and ownership for the local environment
  • Improve mental and physical health
  • Help develop new skills
  • Raise achievement and attainment
  • Be lots of fun
  • Generate a deeper understanding of sustainable lifestyles

“I dont think you can just sit in a classroom and be taught how to save the planet or whatever – you have to actually get out there and learn what needs done and how to do it and everything.”
(Secondary girl)

“Learning is fun and often messy. Learning is active! … The pupils make valuable conections to classroom based school work and have had the chance to experience some relative freedom in experiencing risk taking and to speculate. These skills are not textbook driven.” (Primary Headteacher)


Steven Naughton

Web Manager at Real World Learning Scotland
Learning more everyday, from the wisdom of young and old.

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