Outdoor Education Program In Shaping Life Effectiveness

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Kurt Hahn has led first Outward Bound adventure programme in 1941 and its support the establishment of Outward Bound schools in England. (Hahn 1957, cited in Wang, Liu, & Khalid, 2006). Since then, the outdoor adventure programs have been a spread all over the world. The movement also saw the setting up of the Outward Board School, Malaysia, on 5 June 1955. This school has sought to design programs that support and inspire good communications within the Malaysian multi-racial society of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and others. Outward Bound Lumut, set on the western coast of peninsular Malaysia, has Pangkor Island 3 km to the west and the Sembilan (nine) Islands 10 km to the south, all featuring rainforests and mountains. This research aims to identify the personal skills that the participants have developed from participation in the outdoor education programs using the (LEQ-H) Life Effectiveness Questionnaires (Neill et al 2003)

Background of the study

Outdoor education has been popular in South East Asia since the early 1980s. However, there are only some Singaporean research works on the provision of outdoor education program. Currently, most of the tried and tested research in experiential learning and outdoor education are based on overseas setting. It is hope that this paper will provide more insights into local effort at designing and implementing outdoor education programmes as part any organization to teach character to the participants.

Outdoor education program is believed by practitioners to be an effective human resource development strategy, particularly for enhancing one's self-concept, leadership, supportive communication, problem solving, and planning, promoting trust among coworkers in work groups (Lang 1984, cited in Buller et al, 1995.) An examination of the typical objectives of outdoor education programs for instance, improving leadership skills, team building, improving problem-solving skills, increasing trust, and improving communication. All reveals why outdoor education is so popular lately. Some of the goals of the outdoor education programs include building confidence, becoming more assertive, developing problem-solving skills, increasing motivation, and improving leadership skills (Long et al., 2003, cited in Theresa 2007).

Nowadays, people are more interested to do a practical rather than theory in the class room. The use of the natural environment and the idea of learning through experience has been a philosophical ideal since the minds of Plato and Aristotle. However, its practical use and full understanding have really just begun in the last half-century. (Jeremy Jostad, 2009). Generally, outdoor adventure programmes aim to produce positive changes in participants by exposing them to adventure activities designed to encourage self-discovery and character building. The changes may include self-esteem, social attitudes, leadership, problem-solving skills, team cohesion and behaviour (Cason & Gillis, 1994).

Research done by Allen-Craig & McLeod (2005) found that factors such as time management, social competence, task leadership and emotional control increased significantly after participation in a variety of outdoor education programs. Furthermore, time management also found that it's improve significantly for the experimental group (with the outdoor instructors who focused on the desired outcomes) as compared to the control group.

According to Neill, Marsh, & Richards, (2003), life-effectiveness which is defined as the psychological and behavioral aspects of human functioning that determines a person's ability in any given situation. Neill also suggested that a person's life effectiveness can be measured by how well they function in work or school, as well as in their personal and social life.  Fundamental performance in these various aspects of life, are some core personal effectiveness skills which can be developed and learned like time management, self confidence and leadership abilities. Life effectiveness has largely been discussed so far as a global construct. Through the longitudinal research done by Neill found that Time Management was the area of most positive change. Self Confidence, Social Competence, Emotional Control and Task Leadership came in next and less impressive (but still positive) gains were made for Active Initiative, Intellectual Flexibility and Achievement Motivation (Neill, 2000 cited in samsiah khamis,2009).

As more and more organizations and high educational institute begin to send participants to such outdoor workshop, thus, there is need to examine whether the program outcomes are parallel to their popularity. How effective are these outdoor education programs or is it just a trend in this era of time. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the effects of outdoor education program towards participants' life effectiveness.

Problem statement

Research has illustrated that outdoor education programs influence participants' awareness of themselves and others (Hattie et al, 1997). Sharing experiences in this 'temporary community' while undertaking the challenging activities offered by outdoor education programs (such as adventurous activities, problem solving or team work tasks) helps form a foundation for personal development, especially personal reflection and teaching (Owen, 2001 cited in Jacqui Miller and Sandy Allen-Craig, 2006).

Given the rapid increase in adventure programs that utilize challenge in the outdoors as an integral and critical part of their educational method, it is worth asking about their effectiveness (Hattie et al., 1997). Camping, like any other recreational or outdoor program, is not inherently good (Henderson, 2001). Consequently, there is little to show the skeptical manager who demands "hard data" on the value of outdoor teambuilding programs. Such evidence would be very useful, as many managers believe "hard skills" (e.g. technical) are more important than "soft skills" (e.g. leadership, communication, teamwork) (Worrall and Cooper, 2001).

Many programs may claim to deliver personal development through the outdoors but they may be ineffective. No program should assume success without rigorous evaluation of program effectiveness (Neill, 2004).

Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the impact of outdoor teambuilding program towards participants' life effectiveness. As more and more organizations and high educational institute begin to send participants to such outdoor workshop, there is need to examine whether the program outcomes are parallel to their popularity. How effective are these outdoor teambuilding programs or is it just a trend in this era of time.

Apparently, there are still limited local studies on the outcomes of these outdoor programmes, and specifically, the impact of these programs on life effectiveness.

Definitions of the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire-H Factors (Neill et al.1997)

1) Time management: which is one's ability to plan and make optimum use of time;

2) Social competence: defined as the ability of an individual to function effectively when interacting socially;

3) Achievement motivation: It's motivation and putting effort into action to achieve excellence;

4) Intellectual flexibility: It's involves one's aptitude to adapt thinking and accommodate new information from changing conditions and different perspectives;

5) Task leadership: characterizes ability to take on and perform in a leadership role effectively and productivity;

6) Emotional control: Is defined as the ability to deal with and control emotions when faced with difficult or potentially stressful situations;

7) Active initiative is an individual's ability to initiate actions and thoughts in new situations

8) Self-confidence is confidence in ability and the success of actions.

Objective of the study

The objectives of this study are as follows:

To examine whether outdoor education program has an effect on participants' life effectiveness.

To examine the short-term effects on life effectiveness gains which resulted from participation in outdoor education programs.

To examine the long-term effects on life effectiveness gains which resulted from participation in outdoor education programs.

To provide a framework for organizations to increase in life effectiveness areas such as leadership, active initiative, achievement motivation, self-confident, time management, and etc.

Research Hypothesis

For the purpose of this study, the main hypothesis is:

H1: There is no significant effects of outdoor education program in shaping participants' live effectiveness.

H2: There is no significant effects of outdoor education program's toward participants' live effectiveness in short-term duration

H3: There is no significant effects of outdoor education program's has toward participants' live effectiveness in long-term duration

H4: There is no significant effects of outdoor education program's has toward male participants live effectiveness

H5: There is no significant effects of outdoor education program's has toward female participants live effectiveness

H6: There is no significant difference on life effectiveness of male and female participants after participate in outdoor education program.

Significant of the study

The significance of this study is as below:-

The findings of this study could help provide some insights into using outdoor education as a way for acquiring life effectiveness.

Limitation of the Study

i) As the treatment is an outdoor education program, if there is inclement weather, the activities may have to be altered or substituted which may cause a difference in the results.

Research Design

This study will be using the descriptive research method. The type of descriptive research that will be use in this research is a survey research. The instrumentation for this study is a set of questionnaire which is Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ-H) (Neill,2003) . This study is a longitudinal panel design consisting of three repeated measures. Participants will be from Outward Bound's participants that participate in . Only participants who completed the program (Leadership Development Program (LDP) and Team Development Program (TDP) were included in this study.

Data Collection

There will be three time periods in this study: pre-, post-, and follow-up periods at 4 months following the completion of the program. Previous research done by Neill, the follow-up questionnaires were mailed to participants 3 months after the end of their outdoor education program. At each time period of data collection, data will be collect from each individual who completed the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ) and the results will be entering in a spread sheet program for storage. A pre-test will be collect on the before the start of the program. Then, the second LEQ will be collect by the participants on the last day of the program. The follow-ups will be collect through mailing process.

Instrumentation

Researcher will use Life Effectiveness Questionnaire version H (LEQ-H) developed by Neill, Marsh and Richards (1997), for the purpose of measuring the changes associated with the outdoor education programs. The LEQ-H consists of twenty-four item from eight factors of life effectiveness. It's a self-report instrument that takes approximately ten minutes to complete.

Data Analysis

A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to determine whether differences exist in the overall Life Effectiveness across the test time (pre test and post tests).

Conceptual Framework

OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM

Life Effectiveness

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