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Adventure Time

March 11, 2013

Adventure Time




So in the last few weeks I have given examples of different learning techniques and compared them to traditional teaching to see if that particular style is better or worse.

This week I will be talking about adventure learning which is a hybrid educational program that provides students with many opportunities to be subjected to real world issues through experience and collaborated learning environments. The term hybrid is used because this approach uses actual in depth learning activities while undergoing research in the field. This can be achieved by travel experiences or detailed online learning environments with high amounts of depth; this can be used for a culmination of group work, technology and the real world.

This way of teaching has a theoretical framework in which all adventure learning abides to, which include 9 principles

  1. The identification of an issue and respective location of exploration
  2. A researched curriculum grounded in problem-solving that guides the progression and evolution of the Adventure Learning program
  3. Collaboration and interaction opportunities between students, experts, peers, explorers, and of course content
  4. Education that is adventure-based
  5. Exploration of the issue, environment, local population, culture, and additional relevant factors that provide an authentic narrative for students and teachers to follow
  6. Design and utilization of an Internet-driven learning environment for curricular organization, collaboration, and media delivery
  7. Enhancement of the curriculum with media (e.g., photos, video, audio, etc.) and text delivered from the field in a timely manner
  8. Synched learning opportunities with the Adventure Learning curriculum and online learning environment
  9. Pedagogical integration guidelines and strategies for the curriculum and online learning environment

                                                 (9 Principles Doering. 2006) 

Adventure Learning creates fun experiences; these experiences can have a positive effect on the learning processes of a child or adult. This is done by intrinsic motivation, removal of social limitations of a person, reduction of stress and creating a state of relaxed awareness (Bisson, Luckner, 1996). It has also been suggested that just experience alone can aid academic learning, this was tested using specialized learning strategies and retention strategies being used before, during and after the participants had experienced a fun exercise (Luckner, Nadler, 1997).

It’s also important to note that this is a relatively no idea within educational systems but has helped 3,000,000 student worldwide.

I know what you thinking “ where can I sign up for this type of education and how does it really work”. Well adventure learning is pretty much based on another approach of learning which I have blogged about before, Problem Based Learning.

A relationship between adventure learning, problem based learning and similar in their environments at a very basic level, these approaches are based on student inquiry, huge level of social interaction, group work to solve complex problems and teachers being felicitators. Both use abilities to enquire by identifying and asking questions, designing and conducting investigations, using and analysing data samples and communicating findings (Keys, Bryan, 2001). But of course there are differences, adventure learning requires the use of technology, and collaboration as key features where problem based learning uses it but it is no 100% needed (Veletsianos, Doering, 2010).

GO NORTH ADVENTURE LEARNING- Form the Arctic to Africa and across the USA


Research has shown adventure learning to be a great an effective and efficient way to teach students. This study used 24 teachers and 86 students; teachers used adventure learning activities and materials from the GO NORTH program (Willson, Parrish, Velesianos). The purpose of this study was to inspire the youth taking part by giving them educational opportunities that would excite them and generally give them social awareness and group work skills. Results suggested that when teachers where given a survey as a follow up questionnaire, teachers reported that 95% of child performances (academically) where significantly higher and behavior was better, 80% of students reported that they had higher self-esteem within class settings and received better grades (Doering, Veletsianos, 2008).

Another study centered around the GO NORTH program used 30 participants (18 female and 12 male). These students undertook a 2 year programs with staggered meetings with the same teaching staff. Testing procedures for academic performance, group work and implementation to real world situations happened before the adventure learning, half way through the adventure learning program and upon completion. Results suggested that increases in all tested criteria at the completion of the GO NORTH experience had increased ( Brown, 1992).

The GO NORTH computer program allows students that are separated from each other to connect and have the opportunity to look at data together, then use this data and understand it but in a really fun way (Go North, 2001).

At this point you would be thinking that is would be pretty cool to go to different places around the world to learn but GO NORTH is a computer program ! would be so expensive to take children to these places “how could you even think they took children to the Arctic “                            Really !

AT2004 Program – Adventure Learning



This was a computer program, which provided students their own opportunities to create their own learning adventure. Also the program offered a range of interaction features between students, teachers and facilitators. One day a week was set aside for this program call (education day), this day students worked together to prepare multimedia-enhanced assignments and reports for instructors to incorporate into their classroom curricula. These materials are photographs, audio clips, video clips, and movies that provided timely information regarding particular activities that the child choose or what was given by the teacher. Weekly chat sessions between students in groups and teacher where a vital part to make sure students gathered the needed information to achieve better grades (Doering, 2006).

Results show that 75% of teachers stated that the AT2004 program motivated dialogue and collaboration with fellow students between 3-5 times per week. By giving students such opportunities, the program clearly aided the process of experiential learning that in turn generated high levels of engagement with the subject matter which increases learning (Doering, 2006).

Virtual Field Trips



Field trips for children are a way to engage in authentic learning experiences by interacting in fun ways to learn certain aspects of education that may be deemed boring and of course stuff that isn’t so boring (Shaffer, Resnick (1999), But what about fake field trips? field trips that are in the virtual world? When comparing traditional field trips to virtual trips, research has found that student gained a greater depth of knowledge within the VFT due to the ability of information being presented at their own pace and the ability for information to be repeated endlessly if needed (Tuthill, Klemm, 2002).

In studies involving young students, students were motivated by the variety of interactive components of their virtual experience, which relied on continuous interaction with experts in the field (Riedel, Doering, Scharber, Ernst, 2007). The colonial Williamsburg program is probably the most used VFT, this program has been use for over 1,000,000 children. Children regular get asked to rate whether VFT is fun and if they think they learnt more than staying in a in class. Also teachers receive the same surveys, results of these surveys tend to lean towards “yes” (Heuvel, 2008).  But there isn’t really any empirical data to really give justice to this way of learning to I end with a question.

So I have given what I think is some far out ways of teaching, methods that are pretty new and doesn’t seem to have a big research back ground, but I made an attempt to bring it successfully into blogs so:

Do you think this these two different methods really work better than a classroom and a traditional teacher?  let me know








Doering, A. (2006). Adventure learning: Transformative hybrid online education. Distance Education, 27(2), 197-215

Veletsianos, G., & Doering, A. (2010). Long-term student experiences in a hybrid, open-ended and problem based Adventure Learning program. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(2), 280-296

Wilson, B., Parrish, P., & Veletsianos, G. (2008). Raising the bar for instructional outcomes: Towards transformative learning experiences. Educational Technology, 48(3), 39−44

Doering, A., & Veletsianos, G. (2008). Hybrid Online Education: Identifying Integration Models using Adventure Learning.Journal of Research on Technology in Education,41(1), 101−119

Keys, C., & Bryan, L. (2001). Co-constructing inquiry-based science with teachers: Essential research for lasting reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(6), 631–645.

Brown, A. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. Journal of Learning Sciences, 2(2), 141-178

Shaffer, D., & Resnick, M. (1999). “Thick” authenticity: New media and authentic learning.Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 10(2), 195-215

Tuthill, G., & Klemm, E. B. (2002). Virtual field trips: Alternatives to actual field trips.International Journal of Instructional Media, 29(4), 453-468

Riedel, E., Doering, A., Scharber, C., & Ernst, D. (2007, April). “Timber for president”: Adventure learning and motivation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL

Heuvel, L. (2008a). Educators’ use of Colonial Williamsburg electronic field trips and related Web resources. Williamsburg, VA: Colonial Williamsburg Office of Educational Outreach

Bisson, C., Luckner,J. (1996) Fun in Learning: The Pedagogical Role of Fun In Adventure Education, Journal of Experiential Education 19(2)

Luckner, J., Nadler, S. (1997). Processing the Experience: Strategies To Enhance and Generalize Learning. 


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  1. Hi there,
    Whilst I do not think that virtual field trips (VFT) should completely replace traditional field trips I do think that they can be beneficial, especially to those who suffer from disabilities and are less mobile (Harris and Reid, 2005): Stainfield, Fisher, Ford, and Solem (2000) claim that VFT have a valuable role in supporting and enhancing real fieldwork as well as empowering students who are disadvantaged financially or physically.
    As you mention, students can become more motivated whilst ‘on’ VFT. Moore (1995) states that the value of VFT, and virtual reality technologies in education, lies within its ability to immerse the students in environments that are, sometimes completely different to their own (I know of one VFT that allows you to visit the trenches in the war, and explore villages when the plague was about). To put things simply VR allows the user to experience, interact wit, and discover digital knowledge firsthand, and can bring information to the user which is not normally available in traditional educational settings (such as the black plague village- you can read about it in textbooks, but it is impossible to encounter it firsthand without the use of VR)

    Harris & Reid (2005)

    Moore (1995)

    Stainfield, Fisher, Ford, & Solem (2000)

  2. Hi a very interesting blog. In an article by Blachowicz & Obrochta (2005) were a teacher of first grade students used virtual field trips by using books to develop the content vocabulary of their students. These vocabulary visit improved students engagement and confidence by having them read aloud and develop content area vocabulary. According to Lai (1999) field trip was cherished for their rarity and freedom, as in this learning environment the students were proactive and the relationship between teacher and student also improved. In addition to the fact that by deepening their understanding of what they had previously learned in a new perspective.

    Blachowicz, C. L., & Obrochta, C. (2005). Vocabulary visits: Virtual field trips for content vocabulary development. The Reading Teacher, 59(3), 262-268.

    Lai, K. C. (1999). Freedom to learn: a study of the experiences of secondary school teachers and students in a geography field trip. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 8(3), 239-255.

  3. Inquiry learning involves teachers supporting their students in their process of discovering knowledge, rather than spoon feeding them the information. Greeno, Collins and Resnik (2006) documented the potential benefits of this approach.
    Furthermore, Edelson, Gordin and Pea (1999) found that the benefits are particularly strong if learning is done in an authentic setting.
    This research suggests that Adventure Learning should very much help learners on their quest for knowledge!
    It sounds like a fantastic way to get children interested in learning, especially at an age when the traditional educational setting can be very dull and boring.

    Edelson, D. C., Gordin, D. N., & Pea, R. D. (1999). Addressing the challenges of inquiry-based
    learning through technology and curriculum design. Journal of the Learning Sciences,
    8(3&4), 391–450.

    Greeno, J. G., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, L. B. (1996). Cognition and learning. In D. Berliner, &
    R. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of Educational Psychology (pp. 15–41). New York: MacMillian.

  4. Reblogged this on Psychined Index.

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