Adventure Education Learning Mechanisms Across Populations: Qualitative Results from the National Outdoor Leadership School


  • Jeff Rose University of Utah
  • Karen Paisley University of Utah
  • Jim Sibthorp University of Utah
  • Nathan Furman Green Mountain College
  • John Gookin National Outdoor Leadership School


In addition to the outcomes of adventure education, it is important to understand the process of how students learn in these settings (Ewert & McAvoy, 2000; Hattie, Marsh, Neill, & Richards, 1997; Henderson & Fox, 1994; Klint, 1999). Adventure education research has not thoroughly addressed the processes of student learning. There is little support for claims of specific mechanisms that might work differently in determining a targeted learning outcome.This study is a replication and extension of the work done by Paisley, Furman, Sibthorp, and Gookin (2008), except with a larger sample size and a different qualitative coding scheme. A large sample of adventure education students was surveyed to find out which of the organization's six standard outcomes the students learned most about, and then what techniques, circumstances, or pedagogies were most important to learning that particular outcome. These data were linked with pertinent course information to provide relationship information about how students learn differently given these varying factors.