The role of outdoor adventure education in facilitating groupwork in higher education

Sam J. Cooley, Victoria E. Burns, Jennifer Cumming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Groupwork is an increasingly popular method of learning in higher education and the ability to work effectively with others is important for academic success and employability. This systematic review investigated the use of outdoor adventure education (OAE) in facilitating the development of transferable groupwork skills in higher education. The studies reviewed provided some support in favour of OAE benefitting students’ perceived groupwork skills, the functioning of existing student work groups, attitudes and confidence towards groupwork, and the cooperative and social environment within higher education. However, this evidence was limited by methodological weaknesses such as the use of non-validated questionnaires and a variety of problems with study design and analytical methods. Research was also lacking into the long-term impact of OAE on students' groupwork behaviour and their experience of higher education and subsequent employability. Recommendations are made to advance this area of research, including the use of training evaluation models for more rigorous assessments of skill development and transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-582
JournalHigher Education
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Outdoor pursuits
  • Adventure learning
  • Transfer
  • Group work skills
  • Team work skills
  • Employment


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