Retention in the field of adventure-based experiential learning (AEL) is a question that remained over decades. This study focuses on the challenge of evaluating the retention of the outcomes of AEL programmes over the long-term. The purpose of the study is to determine whether multiple AEL interventions will significantly increase the long-term retention of the outcomes thereof or not. Programme leaders can gain a better understanding of the roles that people play within combined teams as well as the functioning of people within such teams by studying the theories and models that relate to the field of AEL. Within the training situation a range of learning preferences can be catered for as the AEL facilitator can make use of different methods of transfer that can be changed and interchanged depending on the methods that the learners are most comfortable with. By using different activities boredom under learners is reduced and the learning takes place without the learners really realising it. AEL also helps the learner to process the learning quicker and easier, and to internalise it because the learning is linked to an experience. Different psychology and experiential learning theories and how these theories support one another in order to make learning easier for the individual, and to even use it for longer and more focussed behavioural changes, are described in this study. By making use of the existing teaching system and combining it with AEL, the learning process can be improved in terms of retention of the outcomes and the learning that took place. By combining both these educational methods the cognitive, affective, sensory and the behavioural development of the learners will take place. A strong theoretical basis can be very successfully supplemented by an AEL experience, consisting of frequent training sessions or interventions in line with the learning methods theory, which in turn will assist to internalise the theoretical learning methods theory. The study is conducted on two levels, i.e. a qualitative case study, which aims to describe the complexity and specificness of the situation as observed by the researcher, as well as a quantitative statistical analysis which aims to determine whether multiple AEL programmes significantly increase the retention of the desired outcomes or not. In terms of the qualitative case study, an AEL programme implemented over a six month period proved to have a meaningful impact on the hearing impaired learners which took part in this study and that progress made by the learners was observed easily. The hearing impaired community is a very closed-off community and strangers are not easily welcomed into the group, but despite this the learners still built a meaningful relationship with the researcher. This in itself proves that changes took place. The quantitive statistical part of the study shows that the number of programmes presented does not necessarily increase the retention, but that the quality and the length of these programmes do play a role. It also proved that the retention does not necessarily improve in terms of all the desired outcomes. The limitations of this study include the limited language proficiency of the learners, the school and group sizes that were fairly small, and the facilitation techniques and activities that did not always allow sufficiently for the learners’ hearing disability. It is recommended that a certain level of language proficiency be required of both facilitators and learners in order to be included on AEL programmes, that the programmes be presented at a venue away from the learners’ normal school environment, and that facilitation techniques and activities be found or adapted in order to sufficiently allow for the learners’ hearing disability.
Dissertation (MA (Human Movement Science))--University of Pretoria, 2007.