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ERIC Number: EJ1083351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1324-1486
The Application of Recognition-Primed Decision Theory to Decisions Made in an Outdoor Education Context
Boyes, Mike; Potter, Tom
Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, v18 n1 p2-15 2015
This research examined the decisions that highly experienced outdoor leaders made on backpacking expeditions conducted by a tertiary institution in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. The purpose of the research was to document decision problems and explore them as Recognition-Primed Decisions (RPD) within naturalistic decision making (NDM) contexts. Data were obtained through critical decision method interviews to generate retrospective verbal protocols. The data generated decision situations that were categorised into taxonomies consisting of five themes: logistical, safety, pedagogical, environmental and group dynamics. Across the themes, the defining features of outdoor education situations were teaching and learning processes where decisions were made, modelled and practised. The decisions were analysed with the RPD model. Some were straightforward and relied on the experience based intuitive recognition of the leader for fast resolution. Others required more analysis to better understand the situation or deeper consideration of the options available, and in some cases both. Many field-based decisions were underpinned by prior departmental planning processes. Experience and planning supported recognition of the teachable moment particularly in pedagogical and environmental decisions. Consistent with the RPD model, intuitive judgements arose from experience and intuition was based on recognition. The research applies RPD to outdoor pedagogical situations and identifies the unique decision features of the outdoor education context.
Outdoor Council of Australia. 150 Caxton Street, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia. Tel: +61-7-3369-9455; Fax: +61-7-3369-9355; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A