Into the Big Wide World

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This paper considers the complexity of learning and decision-making in modern society and argues that experiential education should embrace this complexity. It argues that experiential programmes should provide independent
learning experiences that address the capacities of learners, the value contexts in which they learn, and that taking responsibility for actions should be
an important programme focus. Furthermore, realising the limitations to
learning through direct experience recognises the role of critical reflection on
knowledge, understanding, and personal decision-making.
To make experiential education relevant to the needs of modern
society, a focus on education about and action on the big issues of the day,
(e.g,, global climate change) is an imperative that outdoor educators are
well equipped to address. However, action requires knowledge, and therefore programmes require content. Such an approach may prove attractive
to educational policy makers and represents an opportunity for experiential
education to contribute meaningfully to mainstream education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-60
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experiential Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Complexity
  • Critical Reflection
  • Environmental Education
  • Experiential Education
  • Sustainability


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