The project ToiMeen! – Activity-based methods as a tool in subject teachers´ everyday life attended the 15th EOE seminar in Salzburg, Austria. EOE stands for European Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning. In the seminar, ToiMeen! gave a workshop on activity-based methods and presented a poster on the project. The main theme for the 15th seminar were the current challenges of outdoor education: to what extent outdoor education can be didacticized and what its place should be in the formal education system. Another interesting theme was presented by Senior Lecturer Simon Beames, who discussed the characteristics of the Generation Z and posed questions such as how outdoor education could be brought to learning environments natural to these learners and how the methodology should be chosen and adapted to appeal and inspire this generation. According to Beames, “by reclaiming adventure and its role in learning, educators will be able to design and implement programmes based on sound principles that have deep and enduring meaning for their students in an increasingly complex, unpredictable and rapidly changing world”.
Improved learning outcomes through outdoor education
Humak lecturers Eeva Pekanheimo, Kim Lindblad and Jussi Muittari, who all work for the project, traveled to Salzburg to explore similar projects elsewhere in Europe and to learn more about how outdoor education, activity-based methods and experiential learning could in greater extent be used as teaching methods. According to these lecturers, the methods of outdoor education could be one important tool for the Finnish primary and secondary school teachers who at the moment struggle with the challenges of the new national core curriculum. Many seminar participants showed great interest towards ToiMeen! and praised the ideas and goals of the project. The benefits of these methods have also been recognized in several other European countries, such as Slovenia and Ireland, where similar projects are carried out. Evaluation of the learning outcomes is still a challenge to be solved throughout Europe: more scientific proof is needed for the fact that better learning outcomes can be achieved through the methodology of outdoor education. This allows for closer cooperation and possibilities for benchmarking of the projects.
Learning should be active, fun and inspiring
Even if the world is complex, unpredictable and rapidly changing, the vision of the project got crystallized.
The Humak lecturers’ understanding on how to achieve better learning outcomes was reinforced: learning should be active, fun and inspiring!