Pedagogy and Practice
From the Arctic to Africa, adventure learning (AL) is changing how students learn and teachers teach. AL provides students with opportunities to explore remote cultures and locations by fostering authentic learning experiences within a hybrid online environment. Moreover, AL allows learners separated by distance and time to connect with one another while providing them access to resources and opportunities for interaction with the real world.
AL is grounded in two major perspectives of learning - experiential learning and inquiry-based learning.
Experiential learning theory defines learning as "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience" (Kolb 1984, 41). The grasping and transforming of experience to which Kolb refers is what AL strives to create within a virtual learning environment.
AL is also anchored in an inquiry-based approach to learning, in which students' learning processes involve pursuing answers to their own questions rather than the rote memorization of facts (Bransford et al. 2002; National Research Council 1999). Both the curriculum and the online classroom are developed to foster students' abilities to inquire as Keys and Bryan (2001) defined inquiry: "...identifying and posing questions, designing and conducting investigations, analyzing data and evidence, using models and explanations, and communicating findings" (121).
Since Dewey (1938), numerous learning theorists have argued for the importance of providing education where students are involved in authentic or real-world experiences in which they engage in dialogue, take action, and reflect on the possible outcomes (Kolb 1984; Rogers 1969). The union of experiential learning and inquiry-based learning becomes a reality in AL.
The promise of adventure learning is that if implemented to its full extend it can change the traditional classroom by providing access and interaction with authentic data, content, people, and real-world situations. Learning is no longer confined within the classroom walls, but extends to millions of fellow learners and experts within a real-world experience.