Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Determining the Value of Outdoor Adventure Education for Educational Leaders
by Umstead, Helen G., D.E., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2017, 296; 10268317
Abstract (Summary)

This investigation attempts to determine the value of outdoor adventure education for educational leaders based upon leadership qualities identified in both the Educational Leadership and Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE) literature. Theoretical underpinnings of outdoor adventure education and claimed leadership outcomes resulting from OAE participation are identified and investigated. Three leadership skills identified as both OAE outcomes and constructs valuable to educational leaders (Self-efficacy, Collaboration, and Trust) are the focus of this mixed methodology study.

Research questions are proposed and addressed using mixed methodology. The anonymous online Outdoor Adventure Education Survey was developed based on previous research (Gareis & Tschannen-Moran, 2004; Rhodes & Martin, 2013; Tschannen-Moran & Barr, 2004; Tschannen-Moran & Gareis, 2004) and with input from educational leadership and OAE experts. Qualitative measures, including participant focus groups and key informant interviews, were developed with the advice of OAE and educational leadership experts before implementation.

Volunteers at a one-day OAE ropes challenge course participated in the anonymous online Outdoor Adventure Education Survey one week after course implementation of a one-day ropes challenge course and focus group discussions occurred within one month in order to allow for reflection, a major component of Experiential Learning Theory. Facilitators and group leaders participated in individual key informant interviews at irregular intervals after implementation.

Analysis revealed that OAE impacted self-efficacy in ways that are valuable to leadership, increased participants’ collaboration, and generally increased trust among members of each group. Results varied based on the obstacles encountered and by the group participating, but were positive overall. Additional outcomes included participants’ increased awareness of the importance of open communication, including active listening, and shared decision-making while solving problems collaboratively.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Olivier, Dianne F.
Commitee: Mense, Evan, Roberts, Nathan M.
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Social psychology, Recreation
Keywords: Active listening, Collaboration, Educational leadership, Self-efficacy, Team, Trust
Publication Number: 10268317
ISBN: 978-0-355-11430-0
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