Most of you already know that Nic and Kristina are set to travel around the world by bicycle (and will set a world record when they’re through). If you’re new to the blog and didn’t know that before, now you do!
Did you also know that they’re hoping to engage a wide audience of young people to explore connections with people and between communities, everyday things, and the natural environment? This is a life AND learning adventure, and it would be awesome if you joined us!
But what is adventure learning?
The success of the adventure learning (AL) model has been well-documented in the last decade, and its appeal continues to grow as requisite technologies become more readily available in classrooms worldwide. Adventure learning “provides learners with opportunities to explore real-world issues through authentic learning experiences within collaborative online learning environments.” Put simply, adventure learning is what happens when expert explorers take to the field on a solution-focussed expedition, and invite classrooms to follow, learn, and engage with each other online.
Authentic learning is open-ended and entails a level and quality of risk characteristic of real-world decision-making. Adventure learning programs draw an analogy between the learning experience and the adventure, emphasizing the importance of practical application and making informed decisions. Studies on the efficacy of AL show that teachers and students alike report higher levels of interest, satisfaction, and motivation concurrent with their engagement in such programs.
Another emphasis in the AL approach is collaborative creativity. Here, too, research suggests that well-designed online learning environments facilitate more frequent and creative interactions between participants. This phenomenon has been accounted for in at least two ways. First, students find real-life adventurers (and associated characters) highly relatable, and are excited about opportunities to communicate with them directly online. Second, online learning environments optimize students’ excitement about what is happening in the field by providing them with multiple tools and forums for interacting with others and expressing themselves creatively. Participants’ investment in people involved in a story of consequence and possibility makes it easier for them to make energetic connections between curriculum objectives, the adventure at hand, and the wider world.
Most AL programs have downloadable content both related to the adventure and to curriculum objectives. That said, AL remains as student-driven as challenge-based learning; you can think of it as taking challenge-based learning to the field! Like challenge-based learning, AL aims to inspire students to respond locally to big ideas and global challenges. In AL the adventure itself models the kind of responses in young people it hopes to inspire.
Check here for more AL resources.
World By Cycle’s own AL program, Ride To Learn, has launched! We are currently accepting registrations for our international online classroom. If you are a teacher or a student who would like to join the ride, or know a teacher or a student who might be interested, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the classroom registration code. The first unit will be up by late April, but in the meantime you can follow the expedition using our route tracker, introduce yourself in the discussion forum, and watch one of the best short films ever made. The classroom is geared towards grades six to nine, but the activities are adaptable and all are welcome!
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!