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Outdoor education theory

Hattie et al
Engaging experiences, Difficult goals, High quality and quantity of feedback, Reassessment of coping skills

James Neill
Last updated:
31 May 2004


Hattie, et al (1997)

Hattie, Marsh, Neill and Richards (1997) proposed four theoretical elements which they suggested be further investigated:

  • immediately engaging nature of adventurous outdoor experiences that emphasizes a "here and now" focus for participants and gets them actively involved;
  • difficult, but achievable goals are set and substantial support is provided to help participants achieve these difficult goals;
  • large amount of feedback and high quality feedback is provided to the learner through their own actions, through the behavior of others, from the instructor, from the tasks, and from the environment
  • reassessment of individual's coping skills takes adaptation and learning of new coping skills

Hattie et al (1997) also note that there is surprisingly little theoretical literature in outdoor education emphasizing the relationship that occurs between individuals and elements of the natural environment during outdoor education experiences.