The effect of an extended wilderness education experience on ill-structured problem-solving skill development in emerging adult students

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Health
Department Parks Recreation & Tourism
Author Collins, Rachel H.
Title The effect of an extended wilderness education experience on ill-structured problem-solving skill development in emerging adult students
Date 2014-05
Description 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 illstructured 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 problemsolving 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 leadershipfocused 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.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Emerging adulthood; Ill-structured problems; Outdoor education; Problem solving; Wilderness expedition experiences; Adult education; Recreation
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Rachel H Collins 2014
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,830,282 Bytes
Identifier etd3/id/2792
ARK ark:/87278/s6962rqn
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2014-04-21
Date Modified 2020-03-26
ID 196365
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6962rqn
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