The Transfer of Expedition Behavior Skills from the National Outdoor Leadership School to Life Post-Course
AbstractEmpirical research in adventure education programs has determined that students may receive a number of potential benefits from participating in adventure programming, from an increase in self-efficacy to enhanced leadership ability to improved physical fitness (Hattie, Marsh, Neill, and Richards, 1997). Further, skills learned in adventure programs are thought to transfer to life post-course (Gass, 1999; Sibthorp, 2003), but significantly fewer studies have examined the transfer of such outcomes. This study sought to explore the transfer of expedition behavior skills learned during a 14-day adventure course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Expedition behavior (EB) is a term coined by Paul Petzoldt and used in many adventure education programs. Petzoldt, the founder of NOLS, explains â€œGood expedition behavior is an awareness of the relationshipsâ€¦which exist in the out-of-doors plus the motivation and character to be as concerned for others as one is for oneselfâ€ (Petzoldt, 1984, p. 168). For this study, EB is described as a behavior that is performed for the primary benefit of another person during a wilderness expedition. In addition, expedition behavior may be related to the psychosocial construct of prosocial behavior (e.g., Carlo & Randall, 2002). Commonly, expedition behaviors are described as a component of leadership, an essential component of working as a team, or as a means to encourage positive group dynamics (Gookin, 2006). NOLS courses feature six learning outcomes: leadership, outdoor skills, judgment and decision-making, communication, environmental awareness, and expedition-behavior. Prior research at NOLS has examined these six learning outcomes (Sibthorp, Paisley, & Gookin, 2007), specific outcomes such as self-efficacy (Propst & Koesler, 1997), transfer of environmental ethics (Hammitt et al., 1996), how student outcomes are learned (Paisley, Furman, Sibthorp & Gookin, 2008), and other outcomes of adventureexperiences.
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