Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Central to outdoor leadership is a firm understanding of the fundamental concepts and theories related to the range and application of outdoor pursuits; the environments utilised; and, the value of human interactions with the natural world for the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and society. This unit teaches students the historical and contemporary socio-ecological influences that play a role in outdoor adventure, recreation, therapeutic and educational experiences.

The unit aims to enhance student understanding of adventure based learning; group and team development; along with facilitation skills including the legal and inherent responsibilities of minimising risks for led-outdoor activities. These foundations form part of the professional standards expected of outdoor practitioners, and are important for creating citizens who recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society. Students undertaking this unit design, implement and engage in practical outdoor pursuits in both urban and rural environments while beginning to reflect on the key competencies of outdoor leadership and professional practice.

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 - Understand the various professional contexts and settings in which led-outdoor activities are practiced, including historical and contemporary socio-ecological influences. (GA5) 

LO2 - Identify and apply principles of safety and risk management used to minimise accident potential in led-outdoor experiences. (GA2, GA5, GA8) 

LO3 - Apply the principles of adventure-based learning, facilitation and group development to the design of effective nature based experiences, that reflect professional context and demonstrates a deep understanding of concepts and theories related to outdoor leadership. (GA1, GA2, GA5) 

LO4 - Demonstrate foundational competencies in a range of outdoor leadership and education environments, practices and pursuits. (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA7). 

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 

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 


Topics will include: 

  • Human interactions with the natural world for the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and society.  
  • Foundations of outdoor recreation, education, development and therapeutic applications including definitions, history, philosophy, responsibility, duty and professional development. 
  • Facilitation of personal and group development  
  • Process of group development 
  • Activity sequencing  
  • Debriefing  
  • Experience Learning Cycle  
  • Resource and program management of adventure based experiences with consideration given to program design, safety and risk management, land management and environmental impact.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, collaborative and cooperative learning, peer and problem-based learning, along with project and team-based learning strategies, which are delivered over the 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 and procedural 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 and out-of-class tasks.  

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: (1) a written plan, to assess learning of safety and risk management processes which is foundational knowledge for leading, conducting and managing all outdoor programs; (2) a facilitation project to enable students to demonstrate understanding of how to present, sequence, and debrief a group development activity; (3) an outdoor programming project, to test and assess application of fundamental concepts and theories of outdoor and group program design and implementation; and, (4) practical field work, 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

Written Risk Management Plan: 

Enable students to demonstrate learning of important safety and risk management concepts which are an critical in the foundation knowledge of an outdoor leader 



GA2, GA5, GA8

Group Facilitation Project 

Enables students to present their learnings about sequencing, facilitating and debriefing a group development activity. 



GA1, GA2, GA5 

Outdoor programming field work project: 

Enable students to demonstrate outdoor and environmental skills 





Enable students to demonstrate the skills and competencies required for professional practice and accreditation 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA5, GA7 

Representative texts and references

Attarian, A. (2012) Risk Management in Outdoor Adventure Programs. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 

Collard, M. (2005). No props: Great games with no equipment. Beverly, MA: Project Adventure.  

Gray, T., and Dickson, T. (2012) Risk Management in the Outdoors. Cambridge University Press. 

Priest and Gass. (2005) Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming (2nd Ed.). Champaign IL: Human Kinetics. 

Greenaway, R. (2002). The Art of Reviewing. Journal of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning, 3(1) 47-53 

Johnson, D. & Johnson, F. (2017). Joining Together: Group theory and group skills. (12th Edition). New York, NY: Pearson.  

New Zealand Mountain Safety Council Inc (2013) Outdoor Safety: Risk Management for Outdoor Leaders. (3rd Edition).  Wellington, NZ: Haddock.   

Reynolds, V., & Bushwalking Mountaincraft Training Advisory Board. (2000). Bushwalking and Ski Touring Leadership. (3rd Edition). Melbourne: Bushcraft and Mountaincraft Training Advisory Board.  

Rohnke, L. (1994). The bottomless bag again!? (2nd ed.). Dubuque, IO: Kendall-Hunt. 

Rohnke, K. & Butler, S. (1995). Quicksilver: Adventure games, initiative problems, trust activities, and a guide to effective leadership. Dubuque, IO: Kendall-Hunt. 

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