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Experiential Education Directory – April 1999


Experiential Education Directory Monthly Newsletter -

~ ~>> S I T E F I N D E R ~ ~ Vol 2 Issue 4 ~ ~ ISSN 1465-8224

~ ~>> A FEAST FOR THOUGHT [site reviews]

~ ~>> Adventure and Experiential Education Directory Ezine

~ ~>> your free monthly newsletter associated with the
SiteFinder Directory:
edited by Roger Greenaway


~ Sites of the Month Reviewed: 2 NEW SITES
~ ~ Outward Bound Australia +
~ ~ Adventure College Tornio
~ New Sites in Sitefinder: 3 new sites
~ Next Issue: YOUR COMMENTS +
~ Open Workshop in the UK
~ ~ Tools for Reviewing in Outdoor Management Development
~ More About SiteFinder Ezine


At last I have found what I have been looking for. You will
probably know that this is the question I have been asking - both
for my own interest and for your benefit:

''HOW and WHY are people are using outdoor adventure
for learning, growth, development, empowerment, education,
training, therapy, reflection or inspiration?''

I was convinced that someone somewhere on this huge internet
would sooner or later be sharing their learning about outdoor
adventure with the rest of us.

I have introduced you to many people who are doing so, but the
two sites reviewed in this issue have gone well beyond any others
I have found - in their COMMITMENT to sharing their ideas with
the wider world.

They are also both sites that have only just appeared. Strictly
speaking they are both new 'micro-sites' within well established

This issue is bigger than previous ones - partly because the
mailing service ListBot has just increased the maximum allowable
size of a message from 10k to 100k - partly because reviews
of big sites take up a lot of space - but mainly because the
style of the two sites could not be more different. The contrast
is very interesting. You are bound to like one of them. I like

** I also hope that you will write in with your own views if you
visit one of these sites.**
[I confess that I had to do a lot of skim-reading and have
really only reviewed what jumped out at me - I'll be going back
to both sites to spend more time on each.]

IT'S YOUR TURN NEXT TIME - not only is this an invitation for you
to comment on the sites reviewed in this issue. It is also an
invitation to all 246 of you to do some self-promotion. I allowed
myself a 15 line advert in this issue - for an open training
workshop in the UK. You can do the same in future issues - just
once but for FREE!


Outward Bound Australia: a summary of 30 years of research
The brand new research section of this site is well hidden, but
once you get there, the indexing and organisation of the material
is excellent. I'd like to follow their good example and provide
you with a useful index for the site review that follows:

OBA - What You Will Find
OBA - How to Get There
OBA - How to Find Your Way Around (once you are there)
OBA - The Research Report (OBA's overview)
OBA - Digging Deeper - Roger's Review Comments
OBA - Coming Soon on the OBA Australia site ...


Abstracts, publication details, commentaries, and keywords for
over 60 books, journal articles, theses, conference papers, and

Compared to Simon Priest's eXperientia site at
this site describes many more studies. The eXperientia site
describes 25+ studies of corporate adventure training provided by
many different organisations. This Outward Bound Australia site
describes 60+ studies. Most (but not all) are about Outward
Bound, but the studies cover a much wider range of course
populations, and include a greater variety of research styles.

There is an understandable emphasis on Outward Bound ...

''For many people, what can be seen, heard, what
Outward Bound is really about. For other people more tangible
evidence is necessary.''

... but many of the studies are of wider interest. Where studies
are relevant to a wider audience, this is usually stated clearly.


This link will take you directly to the research index:
But if you start from the home page at
you will first need to find COURSES at the top of the page, then
find RESEARCH at the bottom of the page, then use the index on
the left of the page.

WAIT - you may want to read this review first!


Most studies have both abstracts and commentaries. I recommend
the COMMENTARIES - they highlight the implications of each study
in relatively plain language.

A search box would be helpful. I know there are interesting
studies on GENDER on this site, but without a search box/engine
for the research section of this site, the quickest way to find
them is to visit each page and use the browser's 'Find' tool
(CTRL+F) on each page.

The 60+ studies are grouped by their themes:
General Programs
Special Programs
Management Programs
School Programs
Challenge Programs (17 to 30 year olds)
Adult Programs (over 30 years old)
Research Report [see next]

See my review below.


This 'Research Report' provides a quick graphical overview (based
on 96 studies) giving brief answers to questions such as:

Does Outward Bound Really Work?
Do the effects last?
Are all OBA programs equally effective?
Are OBAs effects equally strong in all areas?

[BROWSING TIP: to see the whole graphs without sideways
scrolling, re-find the page in your history folder, click the
link and close your history folder. This works with IE5 and maybe
with other browsers. It also saves your phone bill - if you pay.]

Outward Bound Australia programs have been shown to positively
impact on:

Academic Performance
Coping Skills
Emotional Control
Leadership Ability
Open Thinking
Personal Control
Physical Self-concept
Social co-operation
Social Skills
Taking Initiative
Time Management

From the OBA summary:

''Comparisons with other types of intervention and outdoor
programs demonstrate that OBA are particularly impressive. The
strongest outcomes of all are for Outward Bounds 22-day
Challenge courses, while even the smallest outcomes for Schools
courses are stronger than the average outcomes for outdoor

''OBA appears to have different effects in different areas,
working most powerfully on participants ability to manage their
time and their self-confidence.''


The fact that Outward Bound Australia has such a high commitment
to research (96 studies since 1969) is impressive. So is the
willingness of OB Australia to share these studies with the wider
world - even more so with this latest web publishing initiative.

Equally impressive, of course, is the fact that the research so
clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of Outward Bound Australia
courses - across a whole battery of tests and in comparison with
other kinds of provision.

Some of the comparisons are with other kinds of outdoor
provision. Others are with less physical approaches. For example,
one reported finding is that:

''Overall, for self-concept change programs, the evidence
suggests that physically-based interventions such as Outward
Bound, summer camps, and physical fitness programs are more
effective than cognitive, behavioural and other therapies.''
(Hattie, J.M., 1992).

What is not clear to me, is just how these ''outcome studies''
lead to improvements in practice. It is claimed that:

''Profiling of outcomes provides the designers of OBA programs
with vital diagnostic feedback about how to adjust and improve
program quality.''

It would be interesting to see more information about this
process happens i.e. how research influences practice.

I have yet to be convinced that ''outcome studies'' provide much
useful guidance about HOW TO improve programme quality. If you
want to find out HOW TO do something better, the most useful
source of guidance and inspiration will surely come from studying
HOW it works?

One study does get close to the 'HOW' by looking at the effects
and desirability of ''inspirational readings'' on an Outward
Bound course. The conclusion was (more or less) that readings are
desirable but ineffective. In the words of the researchers:

''The study implies that readings may be an enjoyable part of
Outward Bound courses but that they may not contribute to
personal development.''

Does that mean farewell to readings?

The problem with using such findings to influence programme
design is that other OBA studies highlight the degree of
variability within any course population (and presumably the need
for more flexible programmes??). For example, a study of mood
states (by Fry and Heubeck) emphasises "the fundamental
importance of taking into account individual differences in

The GENDER studies come up with some interesting findings about
variability, but it is not clear whether or how these might
influence programme design.

A study by L. Owens noted:

''The findings support the Outward Bound program as being equally
effective for both males and females. However, the intervention
effect was differentially interpreted with males identifying
increased physical activity and females identifying improved
stress coping and social relationships as the primary benefits.''

J.T. Neill's study of Gender found that:

''...research on outdoor education program outcomes shows that
higher gain scores tend to be found for females.''
''Outdoor education can no longer naively carry on thinking that
optimal personal growth is being achieved for males, nor can be
said that outdoor education is meeting the needs of a wide range
of females.''

There are some provocative ideas in James Neill's study - that
leave me wondering whether practitioners should expect to find
ANSWERS from researchers. Perhaps we should expect researchers to
ask the questions and practitioners find the answers? And why
not? Practioners should, after all, regularly question their
practice, and good research can help them to ask some provocative
and constructive questions.

You will appreciate this point even more when you get to Site
Review 2 (below).


The abstracts and commentaries are concise and informative, but
some are much too brief to be of value in this concise format

''Feelings of success increased significantly between the top of
the abseil and the bottom.''

... while others are extremely tantalising - especially the more
descriptive studies that cannot be so readily summarised (such as
those by L.M. Scherl)

I hope that having got this far, that Outward Bound Australia
will very soon take their next intended step:

''We hope that this may be of use to the OE/EE community and
plan sometime in the future to have some of the texts
available online.''

OBA have already done the hard work - doing the 96 research
studies and now creating an excellent web design within which to
showcase 60 of them. The next step is the easiest - it takes only
a few mouse clicks to convert research studies into web pages.
Let's hope the generosity of Outward Bound Australia continues!

This link will take you directly to the research index:



Adventure College Tornio - Steve Bowles' pages

This REVIEW is followed by an INDEX and then by QUOTES.


The three main pages in English on this site are BIG in every
sense. Together they currently contain 13 articles, large and
small. I can't imagine myself sitting at a campfire reading these
pages - as Steve suggests in his warm introduction (below). I
don't have a glow in the dark laptop computer, Steve. And I lack
the imagination to see my office as a campfire. At a campfire I
would rather lift my eyes up from the texts and join in the 'Lets
make experience dance' (referred to at the end of this review) .

BIGNESS is the point of these pages. Steve thinks BIG. His time
frame is not the last decade or two, but stretches back to
Aristotle, Socrates and Co., and even when Steve is quoting from
more recent literature and research, his sources are scattered
far and wide - around Europe and beyond.

BIGNESS is also about finding SPACE in the outdoors. There is a
strong sense in Steve's writings that we only see the space that
we carry with us. It's as if the computer motto 'rubbish in,
rubbish out' is a universal one that applies to wilderness trips
too. (Ralph Waldo Emerson said it better - something about
needing to take ''wealth'' on your travels if you want to bring
some back.) Steve is particularly keen that we do not take the
CLASSROOM or the OFFICE into the outdoors, and he is forever wary

If Steve's writings work, they will encourage visitors to his web
pages to step out of their boxes so that they can enter a BIGGER
world and see the boxes they are in. This may be especially
difficult for people working in Outdoor Adventure Education -
many of whom see it as their job to get other people out of THEIR
boxes. You just have to work even harder at thinking BIGGER.

This is the value of publishing and browsing on the world wide
web. It brings more people into contact with alternative views.
OAE in Finland is not the same as OAE in the USA and the UK - as
Steve makes clear. He invites us all to the warmth of the
campfire. Choose your distance carefully - it's a BIG fire. And
it is full of passion.

Thank you Steve for recognising that the web is world-wide and
that your work with your students does indeed have plenty of
relevance - especially because it's a different voice - a voice
closer to the spirit of adventure than many who now write on the

This is how the Adventure Education pages at Adventure College
Tornio begin ...
Kirvesvartta Piv & Good day to You!

Mission (Im)possible...

Through lonely Taiga and Tundra, Rambling around with the Lapland
Fells...searching for the truths of life .... ..human-being and
be-coming. Sometimes training with technical skills and adventure
education.... At other times just "being at home" with the
world.( im)Possible or not? This is part of our mission
statement. Come and find your answers through others and through
the mix with the elemental !
Adventure..such a interesting word. What does it mean?
From these pages you can get lot of information about adventure,
and outdoor adventure education. Of course adventure is much
more that this, but nobody can tell it all... so please, dream
yourself sitting with the camp fire, read these pages, with time
and enjoy and send some feed back to us if you feel like it and
want to know more.
The pages by Steve Bowles seem to be the only ones in English.
Translations of more of the Finnish pages are on their way.


Steve Bowles' pages are presented in three sections:

lecture-texts are for students to play with. They are
short and provocative. They are texts to "urge onwards".

Which way from Colin Mortlock? And Why?
Singing the map and map making songs with OAE today
Interview text for Adventure Educational Journal in April-99

include many interesting articles from Steve.

Wilderness Therapy
Lakeland way in English (lot of nice stories from Steves
Quality Work with Young People - Developing Social Skills
and Diversion from Risk
Memories (from Guide to Issues and Trends in Adventure
Education today)
Adventure Education- a search for meaning and definition
Outdoor Adventure Education and experiential learnings in a
european context today.

are alternative adventure texts, like stories from Norway.

The Cormorants of Utrst (old Norwegian story)
Fatu-Hiva (part of that book)
Adventure versus the mountain (1984)
The Stampede Trail


Quotes from:
Interview text for Adventure Educational Journal in April-99

''The outdoors is a gender-site. It is, of course, many others
things as well. One thing it is not is a site for re-producing
the classroom or the office itself and here lies one aspect of
confrontation, which leads into the existential arena. The
outdoors provides a sense of SPACE that is different through its
very structure of social action. Time and place is linked to
"space", that is, and who ever knows what happens there? It all
becomes, as I have written elsewhere, a "Maybe-World" of
"May-Being". How much more of the existential can we get here?
Just how much fragmentation can we really take?
''The existential times and places are spaced with a freedom for
all - that much is sure and again that is why certain attempts at
conformist programmings seem to dislike this immeasurable quality
preferring to measure the quantity, that is.
" Long long time ago. I can still remember, before the music died
that is, my friend Emil Sinclair going on his walk-a-bouts. He
was older and wiser than I was but that was ok. I found my place
wandering about too. Let me tell you about a story he wrote one
day - "Ever since I was a boy I have been in the habit of
disappearing now and then, to restore myself by immersion in
other worlds. My friends would look for me and after a time write
me off as missing. When I finally returned, it always amused me
to hear what so called scientists had to say about my absences,
or twilight states. Though I did nothing but what was second
nature to me ... those starnge beings regarded me as a kind of
freak; some thought me possessed; others endowed me with
miraculous powers. " Emil Sinclair was nice to speak with as you
can see. (Hermann Hesse ... as Emil Sinclair from Bowles 1998/9)

There is a page of songs (complete with guitar chords)
Many of the songs have the words rewritten with adventure
education themes. It is a page by and for ex-students - including
a song and dance routine that puts theory in perspective ...

Lets make experience again
Lets make experience again

(Experience dance: >)
Its just a jump to the left
and a step to the right
put your hands on your hips
and get together tight
and only endless theory
will really drive you insane
Lets make experience again
Lets make experience again
Kirvesvartta Piv & Good day to You!

~ ~>> NEW SITES in SiteFinder Directory
~ ~ ~ ~

Dave Horrocks
Scottish Voyageurs
[email protected]
Anyone interested in adventurous JOURNEYS a vehicle for
education, training or recreation
For details about a UNIQUE vehicle for outdoor education and
Background info on VOYAGEUR canoes and details of where we go and
how we use them
What's special are these BIG canoes! We love to co-design
programmes to meet required outcomes.

Pam Nichols
Arete Adventures
[email protected]
Any human who wants a more creative, better life
To experience an innovative approach to creating more of what you
want in your life or business
Our philosophy, list of programs and a visual tour!
GREAT web site showing how we are experts at what we do!

Shouting at the Sky
[email protected]
"Readers interested in a great book about wilderness therapy in
the U.S."
Excerpts, reviews, and discussion of the issues

~ ~>> IN THE NEXT ISSUE (Maybe!)
What there wasn't time or space for in this one:
~ New Sites on the web (lots to tell you about!)
~ Trackers' Tips:
~ Site Owners' Tips
~ Prize Winner announcement
~ The SiteFinder portal (still under construction)
~ Readers' comments: ** If you visit one of the sites reviewed in
this issue, please write in with your comments.**
If the message is not for publication write to
[email protected]
If you don't mind your message being published write to:
[email protected]

~ ~ ~ Find out what the editor does for a living!

Most of my training workshops are provided as part of a client's
in-house staff development programme. Here is a rare open
workshop that provides opportunities for individuals, freelance
trainers, staff development officers etc. to experience a live
workshop! - thanks to XCL: ''Ordinary People doing Extraordianry
''Tools for Reviewing in Outdoor Management Development''
Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th June 1999
Nantwich, Cheshire, England
provided by Roger Greenaway, hosted by XCL
or request a leaflet from: [email protected]
Full List of 20 workshops:
[reviewing skills for working with young people and with adults]


EDITOR: Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
9 Drummond Place Lane STIRLING Scotland UK FK8 2JF
[email protected]>
SiteFinder Directory:


COPYRIGHT: Roger Greenaway 1999 Reviewing Skills Training
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