Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EXSC390 Leadership Practices and the Outdoor Experience

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ability to deliver programs that model sustainable practices, and are cognisant of indigenous relationship to country and contemporary understandings of connection to natural world are central to outdoor education leadership. Outdoor education leadership requires a strong knowledge base to enable effective evaluation of outdoor programs, as well as self-evaluation techniques in relation to personal leadership on journey-based programs. These abilities form part of the professional standards expected of all outdoor leaders. This unit introduces students to leadership for extended self-sufficient journeys, where they will plan implement and evaluate a self-lead; sustainable and ethical program. Specifically, this unit aims to enable students to develop advanced outdoor leadership skill specific to emergency response in remote settings; to be able to evaluate journey based programming; examine their personal leadership styles; and to continue to explore indigenous and sustainable nature based relationships.

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 - Evaluate a variety of outdoor models applicable to the outdoor experience and outdoor programming. (GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9)  

LO2 - Describe and evaluate sound leadership practices in the context of an outdoor leader on a journey based program. (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA9) 

LO3 - Demonstrate an understanding of sustainable practices and indigenous relationship to country in different environments. (GA1, GA2, GA3)  

LO4 - Demonstrate requisite outdoor leadership skills to organise and lead extended journeys in the outdoors. (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9,) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

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 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

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: 

  • Exploring different journey styles 
  • The role of the journey in the outdoor experience 
  • Essential criteria for successful journey program development 
  • Evaluation methods specific to the outdoor experience and outdoor programs 
  • Self-evaluation and self-appraisal techniques  
  • Sustainability and indigenous relationships with the natural world 
  • Outdoor pursuit skills 
  • Emergency response in remote settings 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, collaborative and cooperative learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, 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 will allow students to meet the aim, 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 and out-of-class tasks.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve 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) a written project designed to assess the application and implementation of the knowledge and skills attained from the unit content, tasks and activities; (ii) a written report to assess learning of leadership practices central to sound outdoor leadership; (iii) case study to assess student learning of unit content; and (iv) practical field work to demonstrate competency required for professional practice (hurdle task).  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Project:  

Enables students to be able to plan and implement a sustainable, ethically responsible, self-lead extended outdoor journey 


LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Written Activity Report: 

Enables students to evaluate learning of leadership practices central to sound outdoor leadership  



GA2,GA4, GA5, GA9, 

Case Study: 

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of outdoor programing. 



GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Field Work Hurdle Task: 

Enables students to demonstrate competency, a culture of respect and professionalism in all field work. 


LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Asfeldt, M., & Hvenegaard, G. (2014). Perceived learning, critical elements and lasting impacts on university-based wilderness educational expeditions. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 14(2), 132-152. 

Barton, J., Bragg, R., Pretty, J., Roberts, J., & Wood, C. (2016). The Wilderness Expedition: An Effective Life Course Intervention to Improve Young Peoples Well-Being and Connectedness to Nature. Journal of Experiential Education, 39(1), 59-72. doi:10.1177/1053825915626933 

Beames, S. (2010) Understanding Educational Expeditions. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers  

Birrell, C. (2001). A Deepening Relationship with Place. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 6(1) 25-28. 

Hill, R. P. (1995). Blackfellas and Whitefellas: Aboriginal land rights, the Mabo Decision, and the meaning of land. Human Rights Quarterly.17, 303-322 

Humberstone, B. (2003). Whose journeys: The Outdoors and adventure as social phenomena. Institute for Outdoor Learning. 

Kingsley, J. Y., Townsend, M., Phillips, R., & Aldous, D. (2007). “If the land is healthy... it makes the people healthy”: The relationship between caring for country and health for the Yorta Yorta Nation, Boonwurrung and Bangerang Tribes. Health and Place.15, 291-299 

Luckner, J. & Nadler, R. (1997), Processing the Experience – Strategies to enhance and generalise learning, Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing. 

Mullins, P., Lowan-Trudeau, G. and Fox, K. (2015). Healing the split head of outdoor recreation and outdoor education: Revisting indigenous knowledge from multiple perspectives In B. Humberstone, Prince, H., and Henderson, K. (Ed.), Routledge International Handbook of Outdoor Studies: Taylor and Francis 

Priest, S. & Gass, M. (1998). Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming, USA: Human Kinetics. 

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