The classroom is not the only place where pupils can learn about the natural sciences. Our research into alternative learning environments focusses on instruction and learning in natural environments; in the surrounding environment and in special places such as forests near the city, nature reserves and national parks.

Examples of issues are how the students interact with one another and with the location during outdoor education, and the way in which educators use the location as a resource for learning, primarily in biology and sustainable development. The educator’s own view of peoples’ relationship with locations is another area of interest in the field of subject-based outdoor learning.

One of the subprojects studies an outdoor school for Swedish students, as well as activities at Australian environmental education centres. The project is run in collaboration with Macquarie University. The role of relationships with locations in environmental education in Australia and Sweden is studied and compared. Another subproject studies Swedish students’ experiences of regular outdoor education in years 7–9.

Through research into alternative learning environments, we gain knowledge concerning young children’s learning in biology and sustainable development during regular outdoor education, and the contribution of nature schools to the continuing education of teachers in the natural sciences and sustainable development.

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