The outdoor setting is an important, yet neglected learning environment in education, and research about the outdoor learning environment is still limited and unfocused. This is a problem that calls for an exploration of the work being done world-wide. Yet there has never been an international conference dealing with the outdoors as a formal setting for legitimate learning in schools. The outdoor learning environment is being defined broadly, and may include: natural areas, local and national parks, museums, zoos, urban environments, shopping centers, industrial sites, and more.


This conference will gather researchers from all over the world who study efficient ways to implement outdoor learning activities as an integral part of the formal school curricula. By establishing a new community of people researching the outdoors as an environment for learning, this conference can facilitate this process of community-building and research collaboration. This conference is aimed at researchers studying any educational aspect of the outdoor learning environment, including graduate students, postdocs, and young researchers and professors.

Format and Interactive Sharing Sessions

This will be a 5-day “wandering conference.” Each day will focus on a different outdoor learning environment in a different region of Israel. We will visit sites including: the Dead Sea, Eilat (the Red Sea), Mitzpe Ramon (unique erosional crater), and Jerusalem.

Each day will include one interactive sharing session, an educational visit to an outdoor learning environment, and modeling of the methods for teaching and learning in this setting.

The format for the 1.5 hour interactive sharing sessions will be the following, with approximately 5 groups of presenters sharing their work each day. All other non-presenting participants (on that day) will wander amongst the posters, and discuss the research with the presenters.

  • Stage 1: Each group / participant presents the highlights of their work (3-5 mins each, 30 mins total). **Note: there will be a projector available should you choose to present using Powerpoint during Stage 1. 
  • Stage 2: All participants wander amongst the posters and discuss the research with the owner of the poster (30 mins)
  • Stage 3: Large group discussion (30 mins)

Poster Guidelines

  • Please prepare a poster to help the conference participants understand your work. You are free to design the poster in any way you'd like. The dimensions of the poster should be 95 cm X 120 cm. Poster boards/stands will be provided for you to attach your poster during these sessions.


  1. to establish a new community of researchers studying the use of the outdoor setting in the educational system, in any field of study (history, geography, math, science, etc.).
  2. to present practical and well-established methods for the use of the outdoors as a learning environment.
  3. to encourage young, new researchers to pursue studies in this field.
  4. to discuss suitable research methodologies for studying teaching and learning in the outdoors


  1. Factors that influence the effectiveness of the outdoor learning environment
  2. Curriculum development as an integral part of a school learning sequence
  3. The use of different types of learning environments
  4. Preparation of teachers
  5. Research methods for studying teaching and learning in the outdoor setting

View and download the ICOLE Poster here. Please feel free to distribute widely.


Contact us at with any questions or comments.