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ERIC Number: ED567368
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 142
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-0554-7
The Effect of an Extended Wilderness Education Experience on Ill-Structured Problem-Solving Skill Development in Emerging Adult Students
Collins, Rachel H.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Utah
In a society that is becoming more dynamic, complex, and diverse, the ability to solve ill-structured problems has become an increasingly critical skill. Emerging adults are at a critical life stage that is an ideal time to develop the skills needed to solve ill-structured problems (ISPs) as they are transitioning to adult roles and starting to think differently about the world around them. Individuals who are exposed to immediately relevant environments, a change in cognitive equilibration, and supportive and collaborative learning environments show an improvement in ISP-solving skills. These environments can lead to an increase in creative thinking, cognitive flexibility, and tolerance for novelty, all which support ISP-solving skills. One of the places where these types of environments are found is in the Extended Wilderness Education Experience (EWEE). These experiences serve as a place for students to engage in the critical practice of solving problems and challenging assumptions and norms in a context where students and instructors are able to use one another as resources to practice problem solving. The purpose of this study was to measure the effects of an Extended Wilderness Education Experience on emerging adults' ability to solve ill-structured problems when compared to peers in a traditional classroom setting. This study looked at the students' ability to represent problems, develop and justify solutions, monitor and evaluate problem spaces and solutions, and recognize all the phases of the ill-structured problem-solving process. Students in this study were emerging adults (average age 21) who were in enrolled in either an EWEE or in a traditional classroom experience with leadership-focused curriculums. In order to assess their development, two ill-structured scenarios were developed for students to work through and answer questions about. This study used a multivariate analysis of variance test to examine the differences in ill-structured problem-solving performance for each student between the precourse and postcourse scores. Results of this study suggested that students who were engaged in an EWEE showed significant gains in their ill-structured problem-solving skills when compared to their peers. Gains for each problem-solving skill are discussed as well as implications for outdoor education research and practice. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A