Out-of-school learning is an educational concept first proposed by Lauren Resnick in the 1987 presidential address, consists of curricular and non curricular learning experiences for pupils and students outside the school environment.
The point of out-of-school learning is to overcome learning disabilities, development of talents, strengthen communities and increase interest in education by creating extra learning opportunities in the real world. In a study performed by the UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) it was proven that out-of-school learning increases the interest in education and school itself.
Out-of-school learning is typically not coördinated by the school itself. Out-of-school experiences are organised with community partners such as museums, sport facilities, charity initiatives, and more. Out-of-school experiences can range from Service Learning to summer school and expeditions or more commonly occur in day to day experiences at afterschool with creative ventures such as arts courses and even sports. Some other examples of out-of-school learning are:
- homework and homework clubs
- study clubs – extending curriculum
- mentoring – by other pupils and by adults, including parents
- learning about learning
- community service and citizenship
- residential activities – study weeks or weekends
It has been found in research by the Wallace Foundation that out-of-school learning can be a great opportunity to discover and develop talents. Especially if a professional organisation develops a learning environment that guides groups of pupils/students in their co-operation in creating a professional and publicly visible product, presentation or performance. Companies, cultural institutions and non governmental organisations can offer valuable out-of-school learning experiences.
Organisations will see results accordingly to the quality of the experience, whether they aim to promote active and healthy lifestyles, increase community involvement and visitors/members, to an interest in a company's corporate responsibility projects and employment opportunities.
Out-of-school learning projects
In the United Kingdom alone several local and state bodies run out-of-school learning projects, with additional funding from the National Lottery (£9.1m in 2000). Some major examples of out-of-school learning projects are:
- Parentzone, an out of school learning initiative from the Scottish government
- LA's Best, an out of school learning initiative from Tom Bradley mayor of Los Angeles, California from 1973 to 1993
- Sarahs'wereld and De Wenswijk, out of school learning initiatives from the Wensenwerk Foundation sponsored by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in the Netherlands.
- L. Resnick (1987), The 1987 Presidential Address: Learning in School and out
- L. Resnick (1987), Education and Learning to Think. National Academy Press. ISBN 0-309-03785-9
- UCLA CRESST, The Long-Term Effects of After-School Programming on Educational Adjustment and Juvenile Crime:A Study of the LA’s BEST After-School Program
- The Wallace Foundation
- BBC News, Cash boost for out-of-school learning
- Nonprofit Research Collection on Learning After School Published on IssueLab