Research in Outdoor Education


According to Ford (1981), outdoor educa­tion is "education in, about, and for the out­doors, implying a place, a topic, and a reason" (p. 14). Another working definition stated that outdoor education is "an experiential method of learning which takes place primarily through sensory involvement with the out-of-doors" (Priest & Gass, 1997, p. 17). Priest and Gass also defined outdoor adventure programs as those. that use challenging experiences in the outdoors to promote personal and group devel­opment.

This research developed a better under­standing of the linkages between outdoor adven­ture program (Outward Bound) experiences and outcomes using means-end analysis. Previously the means-end approach had been used to under­stand the outcomes of recreational participation in a ropes course program (Goldenberg 1997; Goldenberg, Klenosky, O'Leary, & Templin, 2000). To date, however, means-end analysis had not been used to examine the outcomes of broader outdoor program experiences, such as an Outward Bound course. According to Goldenberg et al. (2000), "additional research should be conducted to better understand this benefit and determine its role and generalizability in other ... adventure education settings" (p. 221-222).