INDEX to - resources for dynamic learning
 How to find your way around

Questions to Ponder in Outdoor Education

This is a re-formatted copy of a posting sent by Michael Gass to the AEE LIST on 9th December 1997. It is re-published here with Michael's permission, and includes his original covering message.

Michael Gass writes (December '97):

The following are a list of questions that form the basis of some of the information covered in an Outdoor Education graduate seminar here at University of New Hampshire Outdoor Education Program and a "study guide" of sorts for students as they prepare for their final exam. The purpose of sharing these questions is to follow what Lee Gillis started sharing in a similar fashion a couple of years ago. Look at them (or choose not to), at the level that serves you best.

Students in the class are in the process of creating their answers to many of these questions (as I think we also are as a field). Any dialogue around any of these would be great, as well as feedback on them (this may increase the # of e-mail messages tremendously, so please be sensitive to overloading the system!).

When a "text" is mentioned, it is the "Effective leadership in adventure programming text" written by Simon Priest and Mike Gass.

Dialogue, as well as feedback on the questions, are welcomed on-line or off-line.

Mike Gass

(1) Explain how the intersection of the fields/disciplines/processes of outdoor education, experiential education, adventure education, environmental education, etc. connect with one another.

(2) Give an evolution of the development of Outward Bound. What are some of the reasons for OB's current opportunities/dilemmas over the history of their evolution? How would they be best implemented?

(3) Trace the influence and history of Paul Petzoldt in the field of adventure programming.

(4) Examine and parallel the growth and decline of the Progressive Education and Residential Outdoor Education movements in the 1900s. Know why they emerged, critical factors associated with each, and what led to their decline. Compare and contrast elements of these movements and the current field of outdoor adventure programming.

(5) Who were L.B. Sharp and Julian Smith? Outline their influences on the field of outdoor education.

(6) Outline four(4) of the "heresies/syndromes" in Wichman's article on "Babies and the Bathwater" in the Journal of Experiential Education. Describe what these are and outline how you would prevent these from occurring (or are they inevitable?)

(7) Outline what Conrad and Hedin's research study on experiential learning said - what was the study's strengths and weaknesses?

(8) Look at Ellie Greenberg's prediction of where experiential learning was going to be in 1997 when she wrote her article in 1977. Why did the field arrive where it is today? Why isn't where she thought it was going to be?

(9) Examine Steve Simpson's article in the Journal of Experiential Education on student teaching? Why did this fail? what could have been done differently to make it more successful?

(10) Highlight Dewey's criteria for an educative (educational) experience. Discuss how these influence your own thoughts about client programming.

(11) In Chapter 11, examine the eight(8) principles outlined by AEE (and others?) as the central of "how" adventure programming works? Any fallacies in these principles? Are there any missing? What does a program look like that possesses these principles? What does it looks like when some of these principles are missing?

(12) In Chapter 11, examine the seven(7) principles outlined by AEE (and others?) as to "why" adventure programming works? Any fallacies in these principles? Are there any missing? What does a program look like that possesses these principles? What does it looks like when some of these principles are missing?

(13) Describe Walsh and Golin's OB process model. Detail the strengths and weaknesses of the model. Since it was written in 1976, describe how you would improve it (or should it be?) Why was this model so important in the evolution of adventure programming?

(14) Examine Joplin's model of experiential education. Any similarity to any other adventure programming models? Detail the strengths and weaknesses of the model. Describe how you would improve it (or should it be?) Why might feminists in the field (e.g., Warren. Mitten, Bell) value this model so much more than others in the field?

(15) Detail Gibbons and Hopkins' Scale of Experientiality model. Why is this model so important? Detail the strengths and weaknesses of the model. Describe how you would improve it (or should it be?)

(16) Examine the "Kolb-like" models of experiential learning. What are their strengths and weaknesses. Since this is probably on the the most common models currently highlighted in the field, what alternative models are being advanced? Why compare and contrast these models?

(17) Compare and contrast Dewey's concept of "continuity" with James' concept of "pragmatic maxim." Differences? Similarities? Why know this?

(18) Outline Coleman's argument on the comparison of experiential learning and information assimilation? What was his conclusion around this discussion?

(19) List and review the concepts listed in "Hallmarks of Good Adventure Programming" in the course text. Strengths? Weaknesses? What's missing?

(20) List and discuss the "continuum" of applications of adventure programming detailed in Chapter #2. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

(21) Outline at least seven(7) factors currently affecting the development of the adventure programming field. State how as a professional you would interact with these factors to promote the growth of your program and field.

(22) Explain the concept of burnout and factors that contribute to it in the field. How does one deal with this (if they do?). Relate/compare this to the article "A look at the life of an outdoor educator?" in the JEE.

(23) What does Hattie, Marsh, Neill, and Richards (1997)' meta-analysis study of the effectiveness of adventure programming say? Identify the study's strengths and weaknesses. Where does the field need to progress next from here?

(24) Answer the following question: I am currently designing an early intervention model for at-risk youth in public schools. What should the optimum length of the program be. appropriate length of wilderness experiences, and the importance of the consistency of facilitators involved?

(25) Answer the following question: What is the degree that I can maximize the strength and durability of the effects of a "one-shot" adventure experience that we are requested to provide for groups?

(26) Answer the following question: How can I create positive changes with a relatively captive (yet not particularly highly motivated) group of 8th graders so there will be noteworthy changes in their behavior?

(27) Outline the differences between policies and procedures. What are they used for and why are they implemented/necessary? Describe the "matrix" idea presented in the readings and in-class presentation.

(28) Answer Keith King's question: Is outdoor education a subject to be taught to a way to teach? What is the difference?

(29) Summarize the findings of Priest's assessment of corporate adventure programming. What statements can we say about the use of corporate adventure training?

(30) What is effect size? How is it determined? What does Cason and Gillis' meta-analysis study of outdoor programming with adolescents say?

(31) Describe the effects of adventure orientation programming? What made this programming work? What are the weaknesses of the study? Outline the findings of the Summer Fireside research. From the preliminary findings, what are some possible concepts to look at when constructing adventure programming?

(32) What is external validity? What are the sources of external validity concerns? Be able to be given a research study and point out plausible concerns of external validity.

(33) What is internal validity? What are the sources of internal validity concerns? Be able to be given a research study and point out plausible concerns of internal validity.

(34) Define ecotourism and adventure travel. Explain the differences between these two "fields."

(35) Describe reframing. Outlining ways you would use this technique. Explain context and content reframing.

(36) Make a case for (or against) conducting one-day adventure programs. If you are in favor of conducting one-day adventure programs, describe four different vehicles on how you would implement such programming to reach its maximum effectiveness. If you disagree with one-day adventure programming, describe four different paradigms that you would implement in their place. Describe what qualities facilitators need to attend to if conducting one-day programs.

(37) Describe the foundations and differences of problem-focused and solution-oriented processing. Give four examples of debriefing techniques that follow solution-oriented processing ideas. What does recent research say about the use of these two different techniques with clients?

(38) What is moral development? Explain the interaction between moral development and self-concept. Create an argument justifying the use of adventure programming for the development of moral development. Should programs focus on: (a) conducting adventure programs morally, (b) using adventure programs to make people more "moral," or (c) both? Choose one of these three choices to discuss.

(39) The use of adventure programming in the creation of spiritual development has taken on a strong following in experiential learning lately. Explain the connection, as well as the difference, between spiritual and ethical development. Make the case as to whether you believe adventure programming should be used for spiritual development. If you believe it should be used for spiritual development, make a case for the role of using adventure education for spiritual development with clients.

(40) Define and differentiate between the terms: (a) self-concept, (b) self-efficacy, (c) self-esteem, and (d) perceived competence. Explain the weaknesses associated with self-esteem research. Explain the foundation of the argument behind examining perceived competence as a measure of growth verses self-concept.

(41) Define and differentiate between the concepts of: (a) adventure programming, (b) school-to-work, (c) service learning, and (d) outdoor education. Where do these concepts meet, how are they the same, and how are they different? Outline a model that integrates these concepts. Explain the intersection of Dewey's philosophies with these four movements.

(42) Define the concept of "co-creation" in learning. Has this concept ever been represented earlier in the literature? Outline why this concept is, or is not, important in facilitating client experiences.

(43) Define the role of the concepts of "adventure" and "experience" in educational processes. How should they be used in "good" educational experiences?

(44) Discuss the concepts of Gibbons and Hopkins' "scale of experientiality."

(45)Explain the concepts of and the interaction between qualitative and quantitative research.

(46) If provided with a policy/procedure. be able to critique its strengths and weaknesses and provide constructive feedback.Explain the concept, benefits, and weaknesses of survey research. Explain the concept, benefits, and weaknesses of metanalysis research.

Where do you go from here?
Contact the authors? Michael Gass at
Simon Priest at
Join a discussion list? View the easy to use sign up page for joining outdoor discussion lists.
Explore this site? Return to the research index
Where can I find ...? helps you find answers your 'outdoor' questions.
 INDEX to - resources for dynamic learning
 How to find your way around