Why learning in unusual places can have a very strange and powerful effect on pupils and students. 

The traditional approach to learning and revising has been to suggest that pupils and students should find somewhere without distractions, somewhere quiet, warm and comfortable (although not so warm and comfortable they might fall asleep!), and then focus on their work. 

Thus in this peaceful location they can learn, study, and revise without interruptions. 

However, recent research has shown that this is not quite right. In fact there is a way of learning which appears to put distraction right at the forefront of its requirements. 

This comes about from a set of studies undertaken at Yale University which showed that when we study something in an unusual location we tend to remember it far better than if we study in a regularly used location, such as a room at home or in the library, or indeed the classroom. 

This very curious effect arises because when we are in an usual situation our brain becomes much more active, and thus although there might be distractions caused by the novelty of the environment, these are overcome by the additional activity the brain is automatically putting in to being aware of what is happening. 

In fact if one takes a group of pupils or students to a location they don’t know and either allows them to revise or teaches them a lesson that would otherwise be taught in the classroom, the level of learning is invariably significantly higher at the unusual location. 

There are two ways of utilising this approach: one is to encourage older students to cycle to different locations to revise in the build up to exams; the other is to take a group in a minibus. 

This has led to several schools leasing or sharing an extra minibus so that their students can learn in an unusual environment more often. There is more information about the leasing of minibuses at www.minibusleasing.co.uk/minibus-services.php