The benefits of learning outside of the classroom

Some students think that learning is accomplished only by reading books and sitting inside the classroom. However, the most beneficial learning takes place outside of the classroom. Rider’s model of the Engaged Learning Program brings a valuable experience that can’t be created in the four walls of a classroom. Going on field trips is one way to immerse yourself in a topic of study. 

The U.S Travel Association conducted a study which found that educational trips are linked to students’ academic success and higher graduation rates. 

 Field trips make students enthusiastic about learning by providing real world connections to their lessons.

Students are more likely to pay attention and apply it to classes they are in by getting up and walking around. Students can see that what they are learning in class can be used in the real world.

This past spring semester, Doctor Husch’s Oceanography Lab visited the Camden Aquarium to see the creatures they were learning about up close. This off-campus visit to the aquarium benefitted students because they were able to see the animals and talk to employees about applications for what they had learned in the classroom. 

Junior elementary education major Gabrielle Krutan said, “There was something about seeing the fish and other animals up close that made it very real. The aquarium trip made the class much more engaging.” 

The students of this class gladly gave up their Saturday in order to see a more visual and physical version of what they learned in their lectures. 

The trips students take don’t always have to be far away to be educational. Daniel Druckenbrod, director of sustainability, often takes his environmental field methods and data analysis classes out into the Rider woods during their lab sessions. This short walk to the back of campus has a huge impact on the way the students learn. 

 “I’m a visual learner so I prefer to see things rather than have someone constantly talking to me in a classroom,” said junior environmental science major, Ebonie Berry. 

By going into the woods, the students not only have first-hand experience with what they are learning, but they can also see that what they are learning affects the very environment they live in. 

Last spring, Rider’s introduction to sustainability class took a trip to the Anheuser Busch Factory in Newark, New Jersey. The trip was designed to teach students how sustainability was implemented in the process of manufacturing and distributing beer. 

The tour of the facility surprised the students by showing how sustainability is brought into the process in unexpected ways. The students learned that Anheuser Busch recycles most of the carbon they use and “scrubs” what they can’t recycle before releasing it into the atmosphere.  

“The trip was really cool,” Eco Rep and senior environmental science major, Lauren Margel said, “It really showcased how important sustainability is to even the most ‘out there’ fields.”

Getting hands-on experience outside the classroom is extremely beneficial when it comes to the environment. Taking a step into the real world with your learning can spark new interests, especially in sustainability by making students realize how close the environment really is and how our actions can have an impact. When students can see and engage in the world around them, rather than just a classroom, it brings lessons to life.

Brianne Galina

Lawrenceville Campus Eco Rep

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