Learning outdoor leadership: a qualitative study of adult students' experiences in higher education
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The main purpose of this study was to explore students’ learning, experiences and understandings of outdoor leadership. In the theoretical framework different aspects of friluftsliv and outdoor leadership were reviewed. Experiential learning and the self-directed learning approach were the main learning perspectives in the theoretical framework. The literature review showed that limited research effort has been directed to the topics of outdoor leadership, transition into leadership and self-directed learning in an outdoor context. The data for the study was collected using a qualitative approach and semi-structured interviews. The context was the friluftsliv part-time program at Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and the interviewees had completed the friluftsliv part-time program in 2013. Three research questions guided the study: 1. How do the students understand leadership in friluftsliv? 2. How do the students experience the transition into leadership? 3. How do the students experience learning leadership using self-directed learning approaches? The findings show that the students understand leadership as complex and broad, and the outdoor leaders’ relational skills and flexiblity is important. The students’ motivation, aims and educational mindsets seem to be significant factors influencing the experiences of first-time leadership. Positive first-time experiences and support when acting in the role is significant for the experience. The students’ aims, motivation and expectations on entering the study are significant for their engagement in self-directed learning of leadership. The tools used in the self-directed learning approach, development plan and reflective journals, are creating awareness and focus in their leadership development. The social context, or community of practice, is an important factor influencing the students’ learning process.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2014