In the United States there are a number of schools that utilize outdoor learning and adventure sports as part of their educational approach. The purpose of this case study was to analyze several programs that utilize adventure sports and outdoor learning in their curriculum and then present their distinguishing features in case study form. This case study selected 16 schools/programs that used adventure education or outdoor learning and created a profile for each one using a set of common guiding questions. This paper offers an interpretation of the findings that goes beyond the 16 profiles by synthesizing common components of the schools. While no two programs had exactly the same characteristics, there were some common components that many of the schools regularly identified with or emulated. These common components were the bond with the learning space that they utilize, their educational approach, and their process of reflection. Additionally, many schools indicated that the lens in which their students viewed and interacted with the outdoor environment, the physical environment around the students, and attributes of their program delivery as their most unique features. Although there were many features that the programs shared in common, it was the way in which each program blended and utilized these features that led to each program’s individuality.


Julie Carlson

Committee Member

Jason Kaufman

Committee Member

Steven Maynard

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Allied Health and Nursing



Rights Statement

In Copyright