Using outdoor adventure education to develop student groupwork skills: a quantitative exploration of reaction and learning

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This study investigates the initial development of transferrable groupwork skills through outdoor adventure education (OAE), and the factors which predict the extent of this development, processes underpinning these effects, using Kirkpatrick’s (1994) model of training evaluation. University students (N = 238) completed questionnaires measuring their initial reactions to OAE (Level 1 of the Kirkpatrick model) and learning from pre- to post-course (Level 2). There were high levels of enjoyment and satisfaction with OAE, and significant self-reported improvements in groupwork skills, attitudes, and self-efficacy. Learning, and intention to transfer learning to the university setting, were both positively predicted by students’ perceived groupwork skills before OAE, satisfaction with OAE, enjoyment, groupwork self-efficacy, and their attitudes towards groupwork. These findings demonstrate that OAE improves interpersonal groupwork skills and that this is predicted by positive beliefs at baseline and favorable reactions to the learning experience.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-354
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Experiential Education
Issue number4
Early online date20 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • groupwork skills, the Kirkpatrick model, adventure programming, teamwork, life skills, higher education