Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version



Liu, D., Fisher, E.A., & Trainin, G. (Spring 2021). Review of nature experience in learning. Research and Evaluation in Education, Technology, and Design.


Copyright (c) 2021 Donger Liu, Emily A. Fisher, & Guy Trainin


The current review examines the impact of nature experience on student academic performance. The findings suggest that the effect exists in two types of association: (1) green space and school-level academic performance; (2) outdoor educational programs and student school motivation and knowledge. Overall, the researchers predominantly found that students exposed to green space performed better academically in Grades K to 12. Meanwhile, students’ socio-economic status, the proximity of green space, types of vegetation, and subjects could also affect the association. Considering it is not unusual that researchers found SES contributing to the correlational model, future studies ought to control for SES in the model. Secondly, outdoor educational programs were found to have a positive impact on student’s school motivation and knowledge. Experimental or quasi-experimental design is only used when assessing the impact of outdoor education programs on students’ academic performance. Future studies should adopt quasi-experimental/experimental design to further investigate the impact of nature experience in student academic performance; that is, what are the impacts of specific interactions with nature have on student academic performance.