Short Course

Making Places for Outdoor Learning

This Making Places for Outdoor Learning short course is designed to support leaders and practitioners from a range of educational organisations and communities to gain the knowledge and skills that will help them to develop an outdoor place as a context/hub for learning.

The course will expand participants’ understanding and application of educational theory and research and how this relates to local, national, and global priorities regarding learning for sustainability.

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Why QMU?

  • QMU is a leading advocate for the inclusion of outdoor learning and learning for sustainability within education courses.
  • We are creating a new outdoor learning hub on campus, meaning that this course will ground theory in our own experiences of creating places for outdoor learning.
  • The course is research led, grounding practical work in contemporary theory and inquiry at QMU.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone working in education with an interest in how to develop spaces for outdoor learning. This includes teachers and school leaders as well as those involved in education within communities, social enterprises, charities, and the private sector.

Making Places for Outdoor Learning: The course in brief

What will I learn on the course?

The course will take you through the whole project management process of creating a space for outdoor learning. This will include identifying potential sites, development and design, systems of tender and build (if relevant), as well as leadership of people, and budget management. You will also explore the pedagogy related to outdoor learning and learning for sustainability. Throughout, you will be encouraged to consider what the essentials of outdoor learning are and then to reflect on how best to facilitate outdoor learning within your local context.

By the end of the course what will I be able to do?

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • plan and manage the delivery of a small-scale project to develop a new outdoor learning space;
  • use participatory approaches to engage diverse groups of people to help plan the development of a new outdoor learning space;
  • identify the different stakeholders whose input will be necessary to develop a new outdoor learning space;
  • identify different ways in which an existing site can be used and/or adapted to best support outdoor learning;
  • understand the importance of outdoor learning within the contemporary policy context;
  • understand key pedagogies that underpin outdoor learning and learning for sustainability; and
  • communicate ideas about how to develop a place for outdoor learning to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.

How will I be taught?

How is the course delivered?

Face-to-face workshops will be delivered on our campus and will take place both in the classroom and outside in our developing hub for outdoor learning. The in-person teaching will be prefaced and supported with both synchronous and asynchronous online activities including seminars, discussions, readings, resources, and advance exercises/pre-work. 

How long does the course last for and how much time will I need to spend on it each week?

The course is delivered in a blended format, and will require you to engage in:

  • 15 hours of face-to-face workshops on campus at QMU
  • 15 hours of online seminars

Proposed Schedule

Online Twilights – 6 x 2.5 hr sessions:

  • Tuesday, 20 February (5.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tuesday, 27 February (5.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tuesday, 5 March (5.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tuesday, 12 March (5.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tuesday, 19 March (5.00pm-7.30pm)
  • Tuesday, 26 March (5.00pm-7.30pm)

Twilight sessions are delivered online within the QMU Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas.

Face-to-face workshops at QMU – 2 x 7.5 hrs:

  • Saturday, 2 March (9.30am-5.00pm)
  • Saturday, 23 March (9.30am-5.00pm)

In addition, we recommend spending around 7-8 hours a week undertaking independent study that will complement your in-class learning. This will include set readings, guided learning exercises and preparation for your assignments.

Does the course have an assessment and if so what sort of assessment will it be?

You will be required to do two assessments to complete this course:

  1. A proposal for the development of a place for outdoor learning. Assessed as a 10-minute presentation
  2. A reflective commentary on the proposal for the development of the place for outdoor learning in terms of how it relates to both policy and pedagogy

This course carries academic credit.

Who will be teaching me?

This module is taught by staff from our Education team who have specialist knowledge in outdoor learning and sustainable pedagogies. The teaching team will include input from Patrick Boxall, Dr Cara Blaisdell, and Chris Green.

What equipment will I need for this course?

You will require access to a computer or laptop, internet connectivity and a webcam.

Student support/access to facilities

For the duration of your course you will be able to make use of our on-campus learning resource centre as well as access to our full range of online resources, including e-books and academic journals.

You will also have limited, mainly online access to Student Services support. Students with particular support requirements can contact the Disability Service.

As you will be studying with us for less than a full academic year you will not be provided with a personal academic tutor (PAT). However, any queries regarding your studies should be directed to the staff member leading the delivery of your course.

Making Places for Outdoor Learning: Entry requirements, fees and application information

Entry requirements

Anyone applying for this course must be an educational professional and make this clear in their application.

The course is delivered at Master’s level and each applicant must decide if the level of study is suitable for them.

Applicants for Master’s level study would usually hold an undergraduate degree or have relevant professional experience that supports study at this level. Applicants that have previously studied outside the UK should check that their qualification has been taught at a suitable level to prepare them for Master’s level study.

You do not need to provide proof of your previous qualifications, but will be asked to confirm this in your application.

English Language requirements: This course is taught and assessed in English. Applicants do not need to provide proof of their English Language skills when applying for this course, but all applicants should consider whether they have sufficient English competence to study at this level. Applicants for this level of study would usually be able to demonstrate a level of English equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component score below 6.0.




Apply for this course

Application deadline

13 January 2025

Start date

February 2025

NB This course will run depending on numbers registered. Confirmation of commencement will be 4 weeks in advance of the start date.

More information and QMU contacts

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Course Overview

Online and in person
7 weeks
Start Date
February 2024