Out-of-school learning

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Out-of-school learning is an educational concept first proposed by Lauren Resnick in her 1987 AERA presidential address,[1][2] which 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[3] 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 coordinated by the school itself. Out-of-school experiences are organized 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 after-school 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[4] by the Wallace Foundation that out-of-school learning can be a great opportunity to discover and develop talents. Especially if a professional organization 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 organizations can offer valuable out-of-school learning experiences.

Organizations 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.


In the United Kingdom alone several local and state bodies run out-of-school learning projects, with additional funding[5] from the National Lottery (£9.1m in 2000). Some major examples of out-of-school learning projects are:

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