Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Update #6: Links Added April-August, 2004

James Neill
Last updated:
07 Nov 2006

Link Categories


Group Games & Activities

Experiential Education, Character Education, & Camping

Theory, Philosophy, Group Dynamics & Facilitation

  • Chucking out agendas and thriving again
    (Thomas Watercrag, 2001, Journeys, Newsjournal of the Victorian Outdoor Education Association)
    Outdoor education is way too narrow at the moment for it to achieve the sorts of transformations necessary in human consciousness in the next 100 years to achieve so-called sustainability.  So we must either adopt a radical, experimental, high risk, diverse approach to the evolution of outdoor education, or we must content ourselves with a small role, having a few effects at the edges of this rapidly changing world. 

  • The historical roots of the challenge education methodology
    (Smith, et al., 1992)
    Identifies 9 major methodological education contributions to challenge education: outdoor, adventure, camping, somatic, awareness, education, humanistic education, awareness education, humanistic, play, recreation, and experiential.  Also suggests role of education in health, group dynamics, family, spiritual and indigenous has been important.

  • A psycho-evolutionary theory of outdoor education
    (James Neill, Tonia Gray, Graham Ellis-Smith, Jason Bocarro, Ricardo Sierra, & Kaushal, 2nd International Outdoor Education Conference, Bendigo, Australia, July 6-9, 2004)
    Introduces the tenets of psycho-evolutionary theory (PET), the underlying rationale, and the implications for research and practice.  PET views outdoor education programs as a phenomenon of post-industrial society --  a semi-ritualistic, compensatory effort to reconnect with nature.  However, for the full power of outdoor education to be realised, it needs to focus on helping people understand their intra-indigenous consciousness, i.e., their deep knowing which can be unlocked through experiential rediscovery of our indigenous psyche.

  • Theory: Scale of experientiality (Gibbons & Hopkins, 1980)
    (James Neill, 2004, Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center)
    Are some experiences more "experiential"?  Can we categorize some activities as being more "experiential"?  Gibbons and Hopkins (1980) believed so, and created a 10-rung ladder along which "degree of experientialness" could be ranked.  Although this "scale of experientiality" is often cited, the model appears to have some serious flaws, among them that the model seems inconsistent with Dewey's more widely accepted theory of experience.

  • Group dynamics, group exercises & papers on facilitation
    (Jerry Hampton, 2004)
    Rich array of group dynamics resources by experienced author. Practical and theoretical information on how to lead small groups for personal and interpersonal growth and community building.  Includes descriptions of well-developed group exercises. Influenced by work of Scott M. Peck, author of classic book "The Road Less Traveled".

  • Soft and conceptual skills: The often overlooked components of outdoor leadership
    (Michael Swiderski, 1987, The Bradford Papers)
    One of the earliest articles which distinguished between "soft" and "hard" skills in outdoor leadership.  Soft skills refer to people-skills (e.g., empathy and  facilitation).  Hard skills refer to physical skills (e.g., camping and navigation).

  • Field theory: Kurt Lewin
    (James Neill, 2004, Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center)

  • Outdoor education theories & their role in program design & delivery
    (Ozgur Akbas, May, 2004, European Association for Experiential Education Conference, Czech Republic)

  • Growth = Challenge + Support
    (James Neill, 2004, Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center)


Adventure Therapy

  • Call for presenters: 4th International Adventure Therapy Conference
    (New Zealand, 15-16 February, 2006)
    An international gathering of professional people working in the field with different forms of adventure-related therapy and researchers/academics.  The theme is "Connecting with the Essence".

  • Adventure therapy: I'm confused
    (Ray Handley, 1996, Adventure Therapy Network Newsletter)
    Ray Handley eloquently questions what "adventure therapy" means.  In so doing, Handley lays out a synthesis of the assumptions of brief therapy, reality therapy, provocative therapy and Glasserian-type views on counseling.  Handley suggests making the position of the therapist clear, like this, provides a reasonable basis from which to understand what "adventure therapy" might be all about.

  • Working with substance abusing adolescents through Project Adventure
    (Lee Gillis & Cindy Simpson, 1994, Addictions Looseleaf Notebook)
    Gillis and Simpson's article is now a classic in the annals of adventure therapy.  It is the clearest and most comprehensive description of how adventure-based counseling (ABC) can be used for treating drug-addiction problems in youth.  The article outlines an ABC process with details of specific activities to stimulate ideas about how experiential adventure programming can help to facilitate positive insight and positive action for youth and families struggling with drug-abuse.

  • PsychSymposium.com focuses on applying ancient wisdom practices to psychology
    (Steven Colmant & Allen Eason, 2004)

  • Family adventure therapy: Overview, theory and research
    (James Neill, 2004, Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center)

Research & Evaluation

Recreation & Leisure

Risk, Challenge, & Safety


Ropes Challenge Courses

Wilderness, Environment, Education & Nature


Trends, History & Future


  • Iraq Boy Scouts come under "former" CIA agent supervision
    (Muhammad Abu Nasr, 4 August, 2004, Free Arab Press)
    The political role of the newly created Iraq Boy Scouts is questioned.  The IRB has been given US$250,000 and a former police training camp to get underway.  In addition, the IRB is being headed up by a "former" CIA agent.

  • Generation X: Lives on hold
    (Life and Society, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Archives, 2004)
    Born between the early 1960's and late 1970's, Generation X was the first post-war generation to be worse off than its parents.  Social upheaval including an ever-changing job market, recession, rising cost of living, etc. made life tougher going for Generation X who are were also dealing with a future without clarity, impressioned by threat of global instability.  Sandwiched between suddenly broken-down traditional social values and a new undefined world age, most Generation X's have struggled to come to terms with their circumstances and establish their place in history.

  • Psygeist: Actually we eat less
    (The Daily Telegraph, 30 May, 2004)
    According to current trends, by 2020 half of the children in the Western world will be obese.  Yet, we are eating on average 750 calories less per day than we were in the 1970's.  So, what's happening?  Its not so much that we're eating too much but rather that modern life has become too sedentary.  We are burning on average 800 fewer calories per day than 30 years ago.  With better quality food available today than ever before, what is lacking is self-discipline and cultural support to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

  • Vacationers find it difficult to take psychological time off
    (Benedict Carey, May 17, 2004, Los Angeles Times)
    People are working harder than ever and are struggling to relax while on holiday.  Holidayers often report disenchantment with their experiences, but are inclined to look back at past holidays through rose-colored glasses.  In all of this, people seem to be searching for time to be themselves but are coming up empty-handed.

  • What motivates a thrillseeker?
    (Meredith Goad, 24 May, 2004, Portland Press Herald)
    Psychologically, people lie on a continuum with regards to their desire to experience thrill through risk-taking.  Big T's tend to pursue risks in their careers, physical adventure, and are more susceptible to drug use, gambling and other risky behaviors.  Little T's assess risks differently and are more cautious.  Interestingly, this "sensation-seeking" personal attribute is about two-thirds genetically based.  There are also developmental patterns, with risk-taking peaking during adolescence and young adulthood, and lowering after people have children.

  • Shun soft, selfish ways, Singapore education minister urges youths
    (Kevin Tan, 17 May, 2004,  Today Online)
    According to the Singaporean education minister life today is too soft and selfish.  A get-tough attitude needs to be fostered in youth, particularly through outdoor and overseas experiences.  And parents need to teach children to care more about others.

  • Extreme expeditions: Sherpa breaks record for Everest ascent
    (Channel NewsAsia, 21 May, 2004)
    50 years ago it took Hilary and Tenzing over seven weeks from Everest basecamp to become the first humans known to have scaled the highest peak on Earth.  Now, two vying Sherpas are doing it in under 12 hours.

  • Change of publisher for Outdoor Law Quarterly
    (The Outdoor Network, 7 June, 2004)
    SNEWS LLC has acquired the assets of the Outdoor Education and Recreation Law Quarterly from The Outdoor Network. The Law Quarterly had been serving the North American outdoor education community with a quarterly print newsletter focused on legal issues and liability exposure of outdoor programs. The intent is to expand legal coverage that affects both the outdoor and fitness industries.

  • Definitions of the various self-constructs: Self-esteem, self-confidence, self-efficacy and self-concept
    (James Neill, 2004, Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center)
    What exactly constitutes the "self" has been discussed by philosophers, psychologists, poets, artists and many others for millennia.  With the development of modern Western psychology testing and research methods during the 20th century has come some more precise defining and measuring of some now commonly referred to self constructs.

  • Bad Ass of the Month: James Neill

  • What was it like to grow up 50 years ago?
    (author unknown)

  • Online newsletter: The Ripple Effect
    (Dan Creely, Teachers of Experiential & Adventure Methodology, College of Education, North Eastern Illinois University)