Home

Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
New Content Update #2
August, 2002
James Neill
 
  Updates from the OE Research & Evaluation Center, focus on new content on the web, publications, and other notable Outdoor Education philosophy, theory, research, and evaluation-related events.

If you didn't get the first update, it's worth reading - go to:
http://www.wilderdom.com/information/updates/update1July2002.html

Please note that these monthly updates are a summary of new content.  If you want to keep track of all new links added to the OE Research & Evaluation Center over the last month, then continue to visit the center's homepage at: http://www.wilderdom.com/research.html

Got Outdoor Education Research News?
If you have outdoor education research news that you'd like announced through this update, email James Neill.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update#2 Contents

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. John Dewey enters the Electronic Age

2. The Latest on the Outcomes of OE and related programs

 3. Update on Outdoor Education Journals

4. Outward Bound On-line Resources Continue Moving Into the 21st Century

5. OE History and Future on the Web

 6. Challenge vs. Safety - Old but Good

7.  "Hero Theory" on the Rise?

8. New Critiques of OE Theory and Program Design

9.  ERIC Digests Provide Useful OE Summaries

10. New Resources for Intending Authors

11. New Resources for OE Researchers and Evaluators

12. New OE Internet Resources - Search Tools and Library Guides

13. New Professional Homepages

14. Books are Good  - They're Just Hard to Find!

15. New OE Evaluation Reports

16. Other New Articles Added During July

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Update#2

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. John Dewey enters the Electronic Age

Dewey might have written in the early decades of last century, but his progressive educational ideas are as alive as ever in OE today.  So it is with the sounding of trumpets rather than dry text that  I would rather share these two links with the OE world.  If you don't already know these books, many  would argue that these books are essentially reading for the thinking outdoor educator:

Dewey (1916) "Democracy and education" -
 http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/dewey.html

Dewey (1938) "Experience and education" -
http://www.sa.usf.edu/dlewis/publications/ExperienceandEducation/

2. The Latest on the Outcomes of OE and related programs

How can you get a quick handle on the mass of OE research?  Here's my suggestions:

For indepth Research Reviews, go to http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#keyrespub.  If you need to write a literature review on outdoor education research, you need to read all of these papers -sorry, but its true!  If you only have time to read one paper, use the 2002 summary of the meta-analytic research findings on OE programs, from http://www.wilderdom.com/JamesNeillpublications.htm#MAResearch

For lighter Research Summaries, go to:
http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#summaries.  These can be good articles to introduce outdoor education to people, for staff training, for reprinting in newsletters, etc.

Still not interested?  Geez, oh well, then at least read the following example of what outcome research has been found....
 In 1999, Paul Marsh completed a masters thesis which summarized the findings of camping research into outcomes for variables such as self-esteem and self-concept.  Results showed that camping programs, on average, were not as effective as outdoor education programs.  But Marsh found that some camps had a personal growth philosophy and others didn't.  Sure enough, when the results were broken down, the camps with a personal growth philosophy had effects similar to OE program outcomes, whereas the other camps had almost no effects on self-concept and self-esteem.  I reckon that's fascinating stuff. 
Check out a newsletter-style summary of Marsh's research at: http://www.acacamps.org/campmag/9911enhance.htm
Or try his full thesis at: http://www.acacamps.org/research/marsh/index.htm.

If you're seriously interested in how well interventions can lead to personal growth, and what programming factors matter, then I can recommend a new report called "Positive youth development in the US: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs" - http://www.journals.apa.org/prevention/volume5/pre0050015a.html. Disappointingly, they don't include the research on outdoor education programs, which is an oversight that I've informed the report's authors about!

 3. Update on Outdoor Education Journals

Some good news is that outdoor education journal articles are getting easier to find.  There are three major outdoor education journals to keep an eye on - The Journal of Experiential Education (JEE), The Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning (JAEOL), and the Australian Journal of Outdoor Education (AJOE).  Updated information about various ways of accessing the journals, on-line and off-line are now described at http://www.wilderdom.com/journals.htm.

4. Outward Bound On-line Resources Continue Moving Into the 21st Century

Whilst Outward Bound may have been at forefront of OE programming for many years, this has not been reflected on the internet - until recently.  I mentioned in the last update that Outward Bound International (OBI) has expanded its website resources at http://www.outward-bound.org/ - see http://www.wilderdom.com/update1July2002.html#11.  Here are some additional OB resources for this month:

A new site on Outward Bound Philosophy, Theory, Research and Evaluation Publications gives current news, links, and links to downloadable OB bibliographies and articles -
go to http://www.wilderdom.com/obresearch.html.  An interesting new addition is a mixed-methods study of 68-students in 21-day Voyageur Outward Bound School programs which finds evidence that participants' sense of personal competence and control was significantly enhanced.  See Paxton & McAvoy (2000) "Social psychological benefits of a wilderness adventure program" - http://www.wilderness.net/pubs/science1999/Volume3/Paxton_3-27.pdf

Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) has developed a substantial website with useful information, links and resources at: http://www.elob.org/.  Their summary of ELOB research, from which they claim that student achievement can be enhanced through ELOB, can be found at: http://www.elob.org/evidence/index.html

If you are a real Outward Bound junkie and want to read some reflections about the past and future of the famous Outward Bound motto "to serve, to strive, and not to yield", check out:
Neill (1996) "The adventures of Ulysses and the Outward Bound motto" -
 http://www.wilderdom.com/JamesNeillpublications.htm#ulysses1996


5. OE History and Future on the Web

Sometimes we are so absorbed in the present, we forget about where we have come from and where we are going.  Sometimes history is our best guide to the future.  But, where is the history of OE? Mostly, I've found it in out-of-print books or in conversation with old hands.  But information on the web is starting to improve and I can suggest a few places to go:

Lee Gills, at Georgia State University, has developed some very handy tabular listings of key events in the history of OE and AT.  Perhaps most impressively is that the events are dynamic and can be added to - so visit the sites at: http://fdsa.gcsu.edu:6060/lgillis/AT/2IATC/default.htm and contribute.

Some links to historical and regional articles about OE have been posted at - http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#histregional - but clearly more are needed.

Articles which examine current trends and directions for the future in OE can be found at:
http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#trends

 6. Challenge vs. Safety - Old but Good

The best articles survive time.  Garry Richards presented a keynote speech in 1978 to the 1st National Outdoor Education Conference in Australia, titled "Challenge vs. Safety".  This article has served an essential reading for basic instructor training at Outward Bound Australia ever since, and conveys much wisdom about the dilemmas faced by outdoor educators in balancing the risk and safety.  In the current litigious and risk management conscious age, this article still seems as timely as ever.  It can be obtained from: http://www.wilderdom.com/publicationemail.htm

7.  "Hero Theory" on the Rise?

It is not an entirely new idea, but its becoming more popular - OE programs make people feel like heroes.  And with modern society seemingly offering fewer opportunities than it once did to experience one's heroic self, it seems OE has an important role to fill.  But the new "Hero Theory" thinking goes beyond simply Superman acts of saving Lois.  It seems that people actually think and construct narratives about themselves which exhibit consistent hero-in-adventure structural elements and that these structures are evident in the stories told across cultures and OE programs.  Michael Connor, a clinical psychologist in the USA who specializes in providing adventure therapy referral services, has posted his interesting thoughts on "hero theory" in adventure therapy in an article titled "The undiscovered here: The journey of wilderness therapy" - go to http://www.education-options.com/stories/hero.htm

8. New Critiques of OE Theory and Program Design

OE theory should continue to be critically examined with a view towards developing alternative theory and new program designs.  To this end, I can recommend two articles now available on web:

Loynes, et al (c. 2000) "The generative paradigm and three responses" -
 http://www.ks-team.de/ks-team/deutsch/no frames/Ksteam1-1285.htm

Martin & Krowell's (2002) "Rejuvenating Outward Bound programme design" -
http://www.outward-bound.org/docs/research/Dramaturgy.pdf
(Note that this article is based on Andrew Martin's doctoral work on 'dramaturgy'-based course design in Outward Bound, which was mentioned in the last update - see http://www.wilderdom.com/update1July2002.html#9)


9.  ERIC Digests Provide Useful OE Summaries

The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a US federally funded information resource.  ERIC is probably best known for its massive clearinghouse of education-related publications dating back to 1966.  A less well-known, but useful, initiative has been the production of on-line Digests.  The digests are short summaries about  knowledge in particular areas of education.  Eight OE digests have been produced and make for good introductory readings on topics ranging from outdoor experiences with young children to adventure therapy.  To access the digests go to the bottom of the ERIC OE page at:
http://www.ael.org/eric/outdoor.htm

10. New Resources for Intending Authors

Both experienced and emerging writers within outdoor education need professional support.  A growing list of helpful tips, hints and resources can be found at: http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#information

It is always a good idea to read sample articles from a journal to which you are intending on submitting an article.  To help support intending authors, a list of journals which publish outdoor education material has been updated to indicate which ones provide access to online sample articles - see http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#journals.

11. New Resources for OE Researchers and Evaluators

It can be tough for those within outdoor education settings to do research and evaluation.  On-line resources can provide valuable support at all stages of projects - from planning to conducting to analyzing to report writing to implementing recommendations.  A recommended comprehensive, introductory site for people embarking on program evaluation can be found at - http://www.mapnp.org/library/evaluatn/fnl_eval.htm.  For other links to resources to support outdoor education researchers and evaluators, go to: http://www.wilderdom.com/expertise.html

12. New OE Internet Resources - Search Tools and Library Guides

The single, greatest secret to succeeding with finding information on the internet is using the right search tools and strategies.  As one's needs and interests become more refined, it becomes more important to use specialized tools, rather than just banging "outdoor education" into Google again!  To help, a special page with info about how to search the net for academic OE information is under development at:
http://www.wilderdom.com/searching.html

Additionally, two comprehensive library guides to OE information on the internet have been developed and are worth visiting and bookmarking:

University of South Australia's "Internet resources for outdoor education" - http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/internet/pathfind/outdoor.htm

University of New Hampshire's "Research resources for outdoor education" - http://www.reference.unh.edu/guides/outdooreducation.html

13. New Professional Homepages

In the last update, I suggested a list of the top 10 OE authors on the web - see http://www.wilderdom.com/update1July2002.html#12.  It is always a pleasure to learn of more colleagues putting their work up on-line, so please check out the interesting full-text articles from
Johan Hovelynk, Belgium - http://www.psy.kuleuven.ac.be/copp/johan_hovelynck.htm
Peter McDonald, New Zealand -
http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/petemcd/

14. Books are Good  - They're Just Hard to Find!

The internet, of course, isn't everything when it comes to written information.  A lot of excellent OE material is to be found in hard copy books.  But how do you find out about those books and new publications?  I don't know an easy way yet, but I'm working on it!  In the meantime,  visit this link from which you can explore sites which list OE books:
http://www.wilderdom.com/publications.html#books

15. New OE Evaluation Reports

Some readers may be interested in two new program evaluation reports:

"Evaluation of New York City Outward Bound Center Programs" - http://www.nycoutwardbound.org/globaleval.html

"Brief evaluation of the Mystery Adventure experience" - James Neill
http://www.wilderdom.com/JamesNeillpublications.htm#mystery

16. Other New Articles Added During July

Tangen-Foster & Tangen-Foster (1998)
"The caring capacity: A case for multi-age experiential learning"
Electronic Green Journal
http://egj.lib.uidaho.edu/egj09/foster1.html

Dirkx & Lavin (1991)
 "Understanding and facilitating experience-based learning in adult education"

Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
http://www.msu.edu/~dirkx/EBLRVS.91.htm

Sugarman (1988)
"Adventure education for people who have disabilities: A critical review"
The Bradford Papers
http://www.indiana.edu/~outdoor/bponline/bp1988/bp88suga.doc

Neill (2001)
 "A profile of outdoor education programs and their implementation in Australia"
 Japanese Outdoor Education Journal
http://www.wilderdom.com/JamesNeillpublications.htm#OEProgramsinAustralia