An Investigation of Participants' Intended and Actual Transfer of Learning Following an Outward Bound Wilderness Experience


  • Andrew J. Bobilya Western Carolina University
  • Ken Kalisch Montreat College
  • Brad Daniel Montreat College
  • Evan R. Coulson Southern Illinois University Carbondale



transfer of learning, Outward Bound, wilderness experience program, positive youth development


The purpose of this study was to better understand the lessons that students intended to transfer home from an Outward Bound wilderness course and what actual learning they had used 2 years postcourse. Participants had completed an open-enrollment course during the 2009 summer at the North Carolina Outward Bound School. The primarily qualitative data were collected via a written survey at the end of their experience (n = 369) and 2 years following via an online survey (n = 30). The results indicate the experience made a positive difference in the lives of many participants at the conclusion of the course and 2 years later. The themes that emerged 2 years later included (a) increased self-confidence and self-reliance, (b) interpersonal effectiveness, and (c) mental strength. The data indicate a consistency between participants' intended and actual transfer of learning and also new learning that emerged over time.






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