Since 2013 Outward Bound Australia in conjunction with the University of Canberra have been measuring our social impact in a variety of ways. The research from this study will be released in due course.
Please contact us HERE or call 1800 267 999 for more information on this project.
Below are various international studies from several Outward Bound schools and trust’s around the world. We have also included outdoor education research articles, as well as relevant documents from selected philanthropic organisations.
The theory underpinning Outward Bound’s social impact
Life’s challenges test young people’s resilience. Outward Bound Australia seeks to empower them with the skills and techniques to effectively face whatever challenges life may throw at them.
Formal education does not always effectively equip young people with the holistic skills they need to succeed in life; including resilience, understanding craftsmanship’s value, contributing positively to their community, developing compassion, seeking and sharing knowledge, as well as practicing leadership.
Outward Bound Australia’s programs challenge young people of all backgrounds to do things they wouldn’t normally do, in an environment they’re not familiar with, working with others to achieve certain goals. Being immersed in this kind of environment is inevitably challenging. When participants meet this challenge, they gain a sense of achievement and deepen their understanding of themselves and what they are capable of.
Our experiential model, developed during the Second World War to empower young soldiers and help develop leadership and teamwork, frequently leads to an increase in self-esteem, goal-setting and resilience.
Young people who participate in an Outward Bound Australia program discover, develop, and achieve their potential sooner, which benefits their whole community.
“More young people experience a holistic education that helps them to realise their potential at a critical developmental phase in their lives building a positive society as well-rounded, resilient, responsible and adaptable, passionate and compassionate people.”
Measuring outputs – Life Effectiveness Questionnaire
All Outward Bound Australia participants complete a 16 item self-report evaluation of their “Personal Life Effectiveness” to compare where they were at in the beginning and the end of the Outward Bound program.
This questionnaire measures the effectiveness of the program by comparing average questionnaire data between the start and end of the program. It has been widely used in academic research to measure the effectiveness of outdoor education programs (Neill, Marsh, Richards, 2003).
The LEQ measures changes in the following 8 domains:
To support this data and add more dimensions to the change in participants’ behaviours and attitudes, Outward Bound also gathers feedback from accompanying adults, teachers and testimonials from participants themselves.
Measuring Long Term Outcomes
There is evidence that indicates the changes experienced on an Outward Bound Australia program are profound and transformative over the longer term.
To understand these longer term outcomes that an Outward Bound Australia program can have on a young person’s life trajectory, Outward Bound Australia is working with the consulting firm Social Ventures Australia.
With the help of Social Ventures Australia, Outward Bound hopes to:
Benefits of Outdoor Education
Thurber, C., et al. (2007). Youth Development Outcomes of the Camp Experience: Evidence for Multidimensional Growth. North Carolina: Springer Science
Wilson, S. J., et al. (2007). Wilderness challenge programs for delinquent youth: a meta-analysis of outcome evaluations. Nashville: Vanderbilt
Garst, B. and Bruce, F. (2003). Identifying 4-H Camping Outcomes Using a Standardized Evaluation Process Across Multiple 4-H Educational Centers. Blacksburg: Journal of Extension
Russell, K. (2001). Assessment of Treatment Outcomes in Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare. Idaho: University of Idaho
Neill, J. (2008). Meta-Analytic Research on the Outcomes of Outdoor Education. New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire
Hattie, J., et al. (1997). Adventure Education and Outward Bound: Out-of-Class Experiences That Make a Lasting Difference. Washington: American Educational Research Journal
Gass, M. A., et al. (2003). The Long-Term Effects of a First-Year Student Wilderness Orientation Program. Boulder: Association for Experiential Education