The Various Types of Outdoor Education (and what they mean!)

(updated July 2018)

You may not have heard of the term ‘Learning in Natural Environments’ or the acronym ‘LiNE’ before and maybe more used to describing these activities as ‘outdoor education’ or ‘learning outside the classroom’.

To confuse matters you may see me using these expressions interchangeably!

As part of my research I have tried to make sense of the numerous expressions that are used to describe similar learning activities but often with subtle differences. Examples of these phrases include:

  • Outdoor Education
  • Experiential Learning
  • Learning outside the Classroom
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • Open Air Learning
  • Environmental Education
  • Earth Education
  • Learning in Natural Environments
  • Learning alongside nature
  • Nature pedagogy
  • Countryside Education
  • Learning through Landscapes
  • Forest Schools
  • Udeskole several more!

I have created a table which tries to make sense of these phrases by looking at various attributes  such as where the learning takes place, the level of risk involved, if it is curriculum-based, and if it has a specific focus such as sports, farming, culture, or developing ‘soft skills’ and qualities. Click on the image below to see a full-size version of it, and look at where LiNE fits in with other learning approaches.

Outdoor Education Types

I’d love your feedback on this table and I’m sure there lots of other phrases to add or discussions to be had around how I’ve differentiated between the various types of outdoor education.


A  larger list including their variations and permutations is as follows;

  • Countryside Education
  • Countryside Learning
  • Countryside Pedagogy
  • Earth Education
  • Education Outdoors
  • Education Outside
  • Education outside the class
  • Education Outside the Classroom
  • Education in Nature
  • Education in Natural Environments
  • Education in the Natural Environment
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Pedagogy
  • Experiential Education
  • Experiential Learning
  • Experiential Pedagogy
  • Forest Schools
  • Green Space Education
  • Green Space Learning
  • Open Air Learning (OpAL)
  • Outdoor Education
  • Outdoor Classroom
  • Outdoor Learning
  • Outdoor Pedagogy
  • Outside Education
  • Outside Classroom
  • Outside Learning
  • Outside Pedagogy
  • Learning Outdoors
  • Learning Outside
  • Learning outside the class
  • Learning Outside the Classroom (LotC)
  • Learning in Green Spaces
  • Learning in Nature
  • Learning in Natural Environments (LiNE)
  • Learning in the Natural Environment (LiNE)
  • Learning in the Outdoors
  • Learning through Landscapes
  • Learning through Nature
  • Learning through Outdoor Experience
  • Learning alongside Nature
  • Learning with nature
  • Nature based education
  • Nature based learning
  • Nature based pedagogy
  • Nature based teaching
  • Nature based schooling
  • Nature-based education
  • Nature-based learning
  • Nature-based pedagogy
  • Nature-based teaching
  • Nature-based schooling
  • Nature schools
  • Nature Pedagogy
  • Teaching Outdoors
  • Teaching Outside
  • Teaching outside the class
  • Teaching Outside the Classroom
  • Teaching in Nature
  • Teaching in Natural Environments
  • Teaching in the Natural Environment
  • Woodland Education
  • Woodland Learning
  • Woodland Pedagogy
  • Udeskole (Denmark’s LOtC programme)