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Experiential-CPD Calendar

Opportunities for Continuing Professional Development

for UK-based educators and trainers who faclitate learning from experience

edited by Roger Greenaway and Bill Krouwel

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Experiential-CPD Monthly Calendar

May 2017

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Experiential-CPD is a calendar of events for Continuing Professional Development for UK-based experiential educators and trainers working indoors or outdoors. Plus international CPD events of interest to UK readers.

Enjoy May's thought on Glorious Mud from Roger Greenaway or go straight to the calendar further below.

Glorious Mud

The Rise of the Sufferfests is a documentary about the growing popularity of muddy obstacle course races which, in the USA, now attract more people than the total of those who take part in marathons and half-marathons!

This is even more surprising when you discover that the obstacles can include live electric cables, barbed wire, tear gas and wading through icy water at -5C. Yes - people part with money (lots of it) to get dirty, electrocuted, gashed, tearful and hypothermic.

This "sufferfest" documentary explores why people pay to suffer. One theory is that its appeal is its contrast to the comfortable life. Another theory is that participants like to publish action photos of themselves on Facebook. But a Facebook poll revealed that 99% say they would take part anyway.

The original "Sufferfest" was developed by the eccentric Mr. Mouse on a farm in Staffordshire. I can understand how a few exceptional people might be attracted to such challenges, but I would never have believed that such strange activity would become so mainstream.

Outdoor education seems to operate in a completely different paradigm ... or does it?

Rock climbers have been known to show off their damaged hands after a gruelling climb. Photos of blistered feet get "admired" after expeditions. And photos of smiling muddy faces are often used to promote outdoor education.

In OE courses you might find camouflaged children crawling through a muddy ditch to avoid detection. And some activities are dramatised by introducing imaginary poisonous swamps, imaginary crocodiles, imaginary electric shocks, imaginary exploding bombs or radioactive devices. You will also find many variations of obstacle courses in OE  (but without electricity or tear-gas, as far as I know).

And in both "sufferfests" and OE there is a strong emphasis on helping others. In sufferfests, people will help each other over obstacles even though they are officially competing against each other. In OE helping others is often part of the official curriculum.

Most forms of OE avoid competition. OE aspires to be open to all abilities and is usually designed so that every participant experiences a sense of achievement. In the sufferfest documentary I glimpsed some athletes with disabilities taking part - so it seems that some sufferfests are also underpinned by an inclusive philosophy.

But even after listening to all the interviews, explanations and theories in the documentary, I am not much closer to understanding why so many people will pay to suffer. Maybe I lack the imagination to understand the appeal of such suffering. Or maybe it is simply that participants lack the imagination or skills to enjoy less painful outdoor challenges that they can organise for themselves?

Other theories are welcome - especially if you have participated in such an event.

Roger Greenaway

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Your turn!
Do you have a blog post, blog link or 'Thought for the Month' or even a book you would like fellow experiential educators or trainers to know about? If so, please write to 

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Roger Greenaway and Bill Krouwel, Experiential-CPD.


Experiential-CPD Monthly Calendar

This is a selection of events, so please use the links in the right-hand column to see providers' full and latest calendars -> -> -> ->

1-31st May 2017
Walk in the Woods
This is the The Tree Council's festival to encourage everyone to enjoy trees and woods. Across the UK, walks, talks and other events take place in town and countryside. See the Near You Map

2-5th May 2017 (pre-conference starting in one of the trinations)
5-9th May 2017 (main conference)
Experiential Educators Europe (EEE) 2017
Much (not Munich) near Cologne, Germany
hosted by a trinational team (Netherlands, Belgium and Germany). EEE "is a free, unofficial, democratic people organization. The main common interest is experiential learning."

3-4th May 2017
Wiston Lodge, Biggar, South Lanarkshire
A two day event with a variety of workshops and presenters including George Yeomans and Dave Watson.

4th May 2017
Storytelling for Outdoor Learning
with Chris Holland
This one year online (?) course has a one month Free taster /appetiser

11-12th May 2017
ITC Certificate in Outdoor First Aid at SCQF Level 5 
The Ice Factor, Powerhouse, Kinlochleven, Highland.

16-17th May 2017
CPD - Essential Facilitation Skills
Design and deliver facilitated events that achieve success. Feedback from both the trainer and fellow delegates will ensure the participants derive the greatest value as they practice their skills.

18th May 2017
Outdoor Classroom Day
Outdoor Classroom Day is a day to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play.Thousands of schools around the world will take lessons outside and prioritise playtime. It is easy to get involved - learn how.

21st May 2017
Understanding Bird Language
Bulstone Springs Farm, Branscombe, East Devon
For forest school leaders, teachers, outdoor educators and parents. Learn new games, mapping activities and sneaky ways to get people out in nature sitting still, listening… with Chris Holland.

22-23rd May 2017
The Facilitator’s Toolkit
Highfield Park, Hook, Hampshire
It is designed for those who want to consolidate, broaden and enliven their style of facilitation. Explore your role as group facilitator through skills practice and awareness building in the live group setting.

31st May - 1st June 2017
John Muir Award Leader Training
FSC Nettlecombe Court, Williton, Somerset
This two-day residential course gives a thorough introduction to the relevant skills, knowledge and approaches needed for delivering the John Muir Award scheme.

5-6th June 2017
Ulos – Ut – Out!
International outdoor learning conference

Turku, Finland
The conference theme is Finnish nature as a learning environment and the working languages will be Finnish, Swedish and English.

7th June 2017
Drama in the Primary Curriculum
David Farmer's CPD course immerses you in activities and ideas which you can use immediately in the primary school classroom or drama club

9th June 2017
MTa® Experience Workshop
Introduction to MTa’s experiential learning tools with a dynamic mixture of activities, thinking and discussions. Minimal theory, much interaction.

16th June 2017
MTa® Experience Workshop
Introduction to MTa’s experiential learning tools with a dynamic mixture of activities, thinking and discussions. Minimal theory, much interaction.

19-20th June 2017
Group Dynamics
Highfield Park, Hook, Hampshire
Develop facilitator skills that access the group dynamic and maximise learning from experience. Learn to handle situations as they emerge, and be more aware of the influence that you have on a group, and vice versa.

22nd June 2017
UFA Lead Practitioner Training Peer Tutoring
London / M25
Gain the confidence to build an effective Peer Tutor programme in your school and leave with a fully resourced, tried and tested programme for training Peer Tutors.

22nd June 2017
Experiential Learning Product Demonstration
Paisley, Glasgow
Free. View recently added experiential learning products to the RSVP Design catalogue and new activities from the Center for Creative Leadership, Kwaliteitenspel and Dialoogle. All RSVP Design products available for review.

22-23rd June 2017
ITC Certificate in Outdoor First Aid at SCQF Level 5 
National Scout Activity Centre, Hillend, Dunfermline, Fife

28th June - 2nd July 2017
EOE Network seminar 2017
Outdoor Atmospheres and Narratives:
Connecting people to the world
University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth, Devon
This seminar concerns the sensed, aesthetic outdoor world and the narratives that we construct or reproduce when we experience powerful outdoor spaces. See the latest news about this seminar

29th June 2017
Building Better Learning Programmes
A practical 1 day workshop (9.30 - 16.30) to introduce you to techniques and methods of experiential learning and to experience at first hand the potential of using RSVP Design’s learning tools and resources.

July 2017 ONWARDS - Plan ahead!
Remember to tell us if you want an event listed. Just ask for it to be added to the events already listed in
the full calendar of Experiential-CPD events

Just send us your CPD news (or thoughts) by email with 'Experiential-CPD' as the subject.

If you have or know of other free quality resources of interest to facilitators of outdoor and experiential Learning, please write to

Use the 'Forward' link (below right) to forward Experiential-CPD to a friend. (The box that appears allows you to add your own personal message.)

Also in this issue ...

The latest Experiential-CPD Calendar of Events

A-Z of UK CPD resources

Free downloads


Experiential-CPD is a moderated list where you can announce or learn about upcoming training events in the UK for outdoor educators and experiential trainers (plus enticing international CPD events).

If you find Experiential-CPD useful, please recommend it to others using the Forward link at the foot of this page. Or tell us what we can do to improve Experiential-CPD and we'll make it better.

Just send us your CPD news by email with 'Experiential-CPD' as the subject.

Do you have a 'thought for the month'? Alternative views and new lines of thought are welcome. Please send us your 'thoughts' by email with 'Experiential-CPD' as the subject.

We do not recommend or guarantee the quality or existence of events listed in Experiential-CPD.


A-Z of UK CPD resources for outdoor educators and experiential trainers

AoF Association of Facilitators
is a membership organisation providing facilitator training, accreditation and supervision.

Train the Trainer, Facilitation Techniques, Team Building and Development Techniques

Bishops Wood Centre
programme of short courses for educators and environmental professionals involved in education.

Links, News and Information about the Outdoors

British Association of Nature Conservationists (BANC)
workshops, conferences, ECOS journal and other publications.

BMC: British Mountaineering Council
CPD events with a mountain flavour

Careers and Qualifications in Outdoor Learning in the UK
A list of courses provided by colleges, universities, outdoor sports governing bodies and outdoor jobs websites.

CLOtC: Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
helps you provide high-quality educational experiences for young people aged 0–19

Conservation Volunteers
TCV runs a wide range of short courses every year, many offering qualifications. 

Creative Star Learning
Juliet Robertson offers CPD in an Outdoor Curriculum for Excellence, Literacy, Maths, Science and  Problem Solving Outdoors.

ecoSelf project
David Key offers courses, mentoring, research grounded in ecopsychology, deep ecology and working therapeutically in wild places.

Fundamental and advanced facilitation training courses

Forest Education Initiative
Learning Resources

Forest Schools Training

IOL: Institute for Outdoor Learning
Training Courses, Conferences, Events, Qualifications (APIOL, RPIOL) and a searchable index of Horizon's articles

IOL Professional Development Training
Throughout the UK. Many events open to non-members.

ITOL Professional Development
Continuing Professional Development and qualification with The Institute of Training and Occupational Learning

JAEOL: The Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
View current issue and archives.

John Muir Award Leader Training
at locations in England and Scotland

Learning Outside the Classroom

Metalog® Training Tools Workshops
Facilitation workshops about how to use these activities and learning projects indoors or outdoors.

MTa Learning Workshops
Facilitation workshops about how to maximise the potential of MTa materials.

National Governing Body (NGB) courses directory

Nature's Work
Jim Langley promotes environmental awareness and understanding through training courses.

Outdoor Education Advisers Panel
OEAP offers training courses for visit leaders, visit coordinators and for using Outdoor Learning Cards

Outdoor Education Jobs and Careers

Outdoor Education Research A~Z

Jobs and events

Reviewing Skills Training
Roger Greenaway offers workshops in facilitation and reviewing for outdoor educators and trainers.

RSVP Trainer Training
Training in designing and facilitating active and experiential learning.

SkillsActive - Outdoors
Key areas of qualifications for the outdoors sector

Sustainable Development Commission

University of the First Age (UFA)
The UFA helps those working in education to develop practice by enriching your understanding of learning, creativity and innovation.

World of Learning Exhibition and Conference
annual 2 day conference for senior L&D professionals.

Free downloads
for outdoor educators and experiential trainers

The Existing Evidence-Base about the Effectiveness of Outdoor Learning (October 2015)
A report from Giving Evidence who campaign to improve the amount of evidence about charities’ effectiveness which is published, robust, findable, and clear.

The Environmental Curriculum: Opportunities for Environmental Education across the National Curriculum for England. (NAEE, 2015)

Learning Away - Curriculum Integration
This suite of resources provides insight into how Learning Away partnership schools plan curriculum focused residential experiences from KS1 to GCSE.
Learning Away Final Independent Evaluation

John Muir, Earth - Planet, Universe
Written by Julia Batagna, Illustrated by William Goldsmith
Free graphic novel - teacher's notes also available.

Optimism, Pessimism and Hope: Personal responses to the professional challenges of sustainability by Margaret Kerr, Osbert Lancaster & David Key

Learning Through Outdoor Experience: a guide for schools and youth groups by Alan Rogers and Mark K. Smith (editors). Free download.

Inclusion, Wild Places and the John Muir Award
A free booklet showing how the John Muir Award engages with people from a range of challenging backgrounds.

Global Report on Adventure Tourism
Explores the proper management of adventure travel for a sustainable, ethical tourism.

High Quality Outdoor Learning
The English Outdoor Council has re-written the previous guide 'High Quality Outdoor Education' to reflect changes since 2005. Published June 2015.

Horizons Archive Search
A free service for all visitors to the IOL website: instant access to outdoor learning articles over recent years.

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Challenge your 'experiential' ideas with Thought for the Month 

Topics have incuded: CPD & cpd | Working on the Edge | The Benefits of Play | On Being Resourceful | Too Experiential? | Whose Experience is it Anyway? | Getting Beyond the Caption | Thinking about Hybrids | Paradigms Lost | Mantle of the Expert | Who Needs Models? | Whose Preferences? | See Experiential-CPD Thoughts for the Month
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