A systematic review protocol to identify the key benefits and efficacy of nature-based learning in outdoor educational settings

Jeff Mann (Lead / Corresponding author), Tonia Gray, Son Truong, Pasi Sahlberg, Peter Bentsen, Rowena Passy, Susanna Ho, Kumara Ward, Rachel Cowper

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
    234 Downloads (Pure)


    Outdoor Learning in natural environments is a burgeoning approach in the educational sector. However, the evidence-base of research has not kept pace with teacher perceptions and increased practitioner usage. Anecdotal evidence and formal research suggest the significant health and wellbeing benefits of nature connection. Offering low-cost, non-invasive pedagogical solutions to public health challenges—particularly around mental health, wellbeing, physical literacy, and increasing physical activity–the pedagogical benefits of Outdoor Learning are yet to be fully enun-ciated. The proposed systematic review will search for studies across eight academic databases which measure the academic and socio-emotional benefits of Outdoor Learning, with a focus on school-aged educational settings. Using the inclusion criteria set out in this paper (and registered with PROSPERO: CRD42020153171), relevant studies will be identified then summarised to provide a synthesis of the current literature on Outdoor Learning. The goal of this review is to document the widespread international investigation into Outdoor Learning and its associated benefits for development, wellbeing, and personal growth. The systematic review will provide insights for teacher-training institutions, educational policy makers, and frontline teachers to improve the learning experiences of future students.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1199
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021


    • Health
    • Natural environments
    • Outdoor Learning
    • Protocol
    • Socio-emotional
    • Systematic review
    • Wellbeing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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