Neill 2008 Enhancing life effectiveness: The impacts of outdoor education programs
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- James Neill's educational psychology doctoral thesis on the life effectiveness outcomes of outdoor education programs is freely downloadable.
- Related papers will be released soon.
Two literature review chapters provide:
- A critical, up to date review of the theory and research on outdoor education programs pertaining to the mechanisms and effects of OE programs on personal development.
- A description of the theoretical notion of "life effectiveness" as a set of generic, learnable life skills.
Two research studies are then presented:
- Testing and further development of the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire as a practical tool for measuring the effects of personal development intervention programs and recommends an 8-factor, 24-item instrument (LEQ-H) on the basis of a series of exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses.
- A large, longitudinal, empirical study of the effects of outdoor education programs (mostly Outward Bound) on ~ 3,000 participants self-reported life effectiveness (the largest outdoor education study of its kind). The main results were that:
- Outdoor education programs were found to have moderately positive effects on five of the measured life effectiveness skills and small-moderate positive effects on the other three measured skills.
- There was some dissipation of the positive effects in the longer-term (~ 3 to 12 months later).
- 'Longer, more intense programs (approx. 3 to 4 weeks) with young adults were the most impactful (compared to shorter (approx. 6 to 10 day) programs for school students, families, corporate, and special (e.g., disability) programs). Variables such as participant's gender, age, group gender, and group size did not predict variance in the outcomes.
- Recommendations included:
- Further development of the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire
- To study more closely possible psychological process and mechanisms which may better predict personal and social development through outdoor education.
To access this doctoral dissertation:
Neill, J. T. (2008). Enhancing life effectiveness: The impacts of outdoor education programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Faculty of Education, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia. Retrieved from Retrieved from http://wilderdom.com/wiki/Neill_2008_Enhancing_life_effectiveness:_The_impacts_of_outdoor_education_programs