Outdoor Workshops: A Means of Restoration Amidst COVID-19 Online Modes

Santa Stopniece: Suzhou Polytechnic Institute of Agriculture

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/
Published Date: Nov 27, 2023 | Accepted Date: Sep 30, 2023 | Submitted Date: Oct 21, 2022


Amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19, online learning and teaching were oftentimes treated as the new normal. Students and tutors were expected to accept it and perform as effectively as they did in face-to-face situations. However, the online mode sustained over extended periods of time often results in decreased motivation, a lesser ability to concentrate, and general fatigue. This paper explores how outdoor workshops involving local and international students were used for restoration amidst lengthy online COVID-19-related learning periods at Suzhou Polytechnic Institute of Agriculture (China) and their role as a regular practice for sustainability in education. The methods of the study consist of content analysis of reports on outdoor workshops organized, interviews with tutors, and qualitative questionnaires for students. Results of the study indicate that workshop experiences outdoors provide renewal of motivation, the joy of getting together, learning by doing, involvement in a vivid way, and chances to create milestone memories of achievement. Important aspects to note while organizing workshops outdoors, along with possible challenges and their solutions, are outlined while proposing outdoor workshops as interculturally relevant tools based on fundamental human values such as connecting with nature and face-to-face contact with others. To facilitate the sustainability goals of the United Nations, particularly those pertaining to good health, well-being, and quality education, this approach offers a counterbalance to online or classroom learning, is globally relevant, and can be applied creatively in a variety of settings, learning situations, and disciplines. The paper uses the triple bottom line model to consider the sustainability of this approach from economic, environmental, and social perspectives, and concludes with its usefulness and reasonable application.


outdoors, workshops, sustainability, online, learning, COVID-19

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