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ERIC Number: EJ1151056
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Apr
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2206-3110
What Are the Capabilities of Graduates Who Study Outdoor Education in Australian Universities? The Case for a Threshold Concepts Framework
Polley, Scott; Thomas, Glyn J.
Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, v20 n1 p55-63 Apr 2017
Research has indicated that some stakeholders in the Australian outdoor education profession are uncertain about the capabilities of students graduating from university outdoor education programmes. Unfortunately, there is currently no formal or informal agreement amongst university programmes regarding the knowledge, skills, and experience that an outdoor education graduate should be expected to acquire. The situation becomes more complicated when these graduates are required by some employers, land managers, or insurers to undertake additional vocational education and training (VET)-based training to obtain activity leadership qualifications. This paper outlines a process to identify and document the forms of knowledge, skills, and experience that graduates of university outdoor education programmes need to work in the profession. In the last decade, several fields and discipline areas have used a threshold concepts framework to optimise curriculum design and pedagogical development based on the work of Meyer and Land (2003). Threshold concepts articulate critical knowledge areas that graduates entering the profession must master, and these concepts have been characterised as being transformative, irreversible, troublesome, integrative, and bounded. Using a threshold concept framework to design curriculum allows professionals to identify essential concepts and alerts academics to areas where their students are likely to experience difficulties. Suggestions for developing threshold concepts outlined in the literature are summarised, and a collaborative, consultative process is recommended to establish threshold learning outcomes in university outdoor education programmes in Australia. Some suggestions for new nomenclature that can be used to describe outdoor leaders, including graduates of university outdoor education programmes, are provided.
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: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A