Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EXSC116 Journeying in the Natural World or EXSC202 Journeying in the Natural World

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

As an outdoor leader you will need to support your participants as they move through and connect with natural environment, on both individual and group-based journeys. This requires you to facilitate group living; connections to place; different ways of moving through environments; and, various methods to engage with natural spaces. This unit aims to provide you with skills that not only form part of the professional standards expected of all outdoor leaders but are also important skills for creating conscious and informed citizens who recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Create and present engaging river ecological learning activities that improve environmental knowledge and awareness (GA5, GA8, GA9)  

LO2 - Apply solo journeying and reflective observation techniques in an outdoor program. (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9) 

LO3 - Use and recommend advanced group living and travel skills to support connections with natural environments. (GA5, GA7)  

LO4 - Apply and demonstrate the leadership, decision making, and judgement capabilities required in a variety of outdoor contexts. (GA3, GA5) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Principals of eco-literacy and environmental interpretation 
  • Environmental approaches to land use, management and conservation  
  • Ways of moving through environments and engaging in natural spaces  
  • Ways of thinking in outdoor learning including connections to place, environmental stewardship sustainable living and travel, and slow travel. 
  •  Paddling related safety management skills including rescue, safety and emergency protocols. 
  • Leadership in, decision making and judgement. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, collaborative, cooperative and enquiry-based learning, just-in-time teaching, peer and problem-based learning, along with project, small group and team-based learning strategies, which are delivered over a semester. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of competency in the practical skills of outdoor leadership. These strategies aim to provide students with an opportunity to meet the learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as the industry professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and are required to actively participate in all classes, field trips, online modules and out-of-class tasks.  


To achieve the learning outcomes, this unit requires face-to-face attendance in specific physical locations with engagement between peers, the lecturer and industry practitioners. To complement the face-to-face interactions, the unit will be blended with self-directed and self-paced online learning activities, which require the use of online communication and collaboration tools. The proportion of face-to-face and online time will vary based on student characteristics, local resources, active learning approaches and technology support; however, interactions amongst students, the lecturer and industry experts will be on a regular basis. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: (i) an environmental resource project, designed to assess understanding of ecological literacy and ways to present the information to others in an engaging way; (ii) an individual written report, to demonstrate understanding of alternative perspectives, ways of thinking and ways of operating in the outdoors (iii) written and practical test, to assess learning of important outdoor environmental and leadership concepts; and, (iv) experiential learning activities, to demonstrate the skills and competencies required for professional practice and accreditation (hurdle task).  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Environmental Resource Project:  

Requires students to present and develop an ecological based resource 


LO1, LO4 

GA3, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Individual Written Report: 

Requires students to investigate alternative perspectives, along with different ways of thinking and operating in the outdoors.


LO2, LO4 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA9 

Written and Practical Test:  

Requires students to demonstrate leadership knowledge and skills for safe group travel and living in outdoor environments  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Experiential Learning Activities: 

Enables students to demonstrate competency, a culture of respect and professionalism in all experiential learning activities. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Berns, G. N. & Simpson, S. (2009). Outdoor recreation participation and environmental concern: A research summary. Journal of Experiential Education, 32(1): 79-91. 


Bobilya, A. J., Kalisch, K. R., & McAvoy, L. H. (2005). An investigation of the role of the instructor in the solo experience. The Journal of Experiential Education, 27(3), 318.  


Brown, M. (2008). ‘Outdoor education: Opportunities provided by a place-based approach’. New Zealand Journal of Outdoor Education 2 (3), 7–25. 


Nicholls, V. (2009). Quiet time: A sense of solitude. In Fourth International Outdoor Education Research Conference, Outdoor education research and theory: critical reflections, new directions, La Trobe University, Beechworth, VIC, Australia.   


Phillip, G., & Wattchow, B. (2008). Slow pedagogy and placing education in post-traditional outdoor education. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 12(1), 25-38. 


Stewart, A. (2004). Decolonising encounters with the Murray River: Building place responsive outdoor education. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 8(2), 46-55.  


Stewart, A. (2008). Whose place, whose history? Outdoor environmental education pedagogy as ‘reading’ the landscape. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 8(2), 79-98. 


Strevens, S., (2006). Slow River: A journey down the Murray. Adelaide, SA: Griffin Press. 


Wattchow, B. & Brown, M. (2011). A pedagogy of place: Outdoor education for a changing world. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University Press.   


Wattchow, B. (2008). Moving on an effortless journey: Paddling, river-places and outdoor education.  Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 12(2), 12-23. 

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