Outdoor learning across the community: the development of progression and ecosystem models to enhance engagement

Harvey, David (2022) Outdoor learning across the community: the development of progression and ecosystem models to enhance engagement. Doctoral thesis, University of Cumbria.

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Abstract

Despite increasing awareness and acknowledgement of the benefits of outdoor learning (OL) in the UK, access to progressive OL opportunities remains inequitable. Provision reflects a disaggregated model of delivery that suffers from a lack of coherence, leading experiences to be largely unconnected and dependent on participants’ interests and motivations to develop any sense of progression. The majority of research into OL access to date focuses on the challenges of delivering OL in school settings. The lack of other perspectives represents a significant gap in the literature that this thesis seeks to address. Through a case study of the District of Copeland in Cumbria, England, the research explores how OL is interpreted and the degree to which it is accessed by different populations. The research takes multiple perspectives that explore the role of values and context and, through an original application of Access Theory to the field of outdoor learning, provides new insights into how people gain, maintain and control access to the benefits that can be accrued through OL. The research concludes that a participant perspective focusing on individualised autonomy is important when considering the various mechanisms that affect access across the life course. A new progression model based on the development of participant autonomy and an associated delivery strategy based on the concept of an ecosystem is proposed. An OL ecosystem design process is developed through the research and tested to translate the model into practice. Through developing purposeful ecosystems that involve all the key stakeholders in the delivery of OL the models have significant implications for practice as they suggest a more coherent approach that can increase access to OL and its associated benefits.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Doctoral)
Departments: Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies > Outdoor Studies
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, February 2022, word count: 78891.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2022 08:35
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 10:15
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6542

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