Credentialing Standards for Teaching Outdoor Activities: An International Comparison Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Trappe, Nathan
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • There is little research on the process for credentialing teachers of outdoor recreation activities. This research used an explanatory mixed-method research design to understand the credentialing requirements for becoming an outdoor instructor. Following a census and constant comparative analysis of 155 credentials from 62 credentialing organizations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States, the second phase of research explored the phenomenon of credentialing in outdoor education using a maximal variation sampling strategy. Results emphasized a prevalence of organizations in all countries and enormous variety in outdoor instructor credentialing requirements. As a result, a typology of the requirements for becoming and outdoor instructor was developed. A series of common themes emerged across all credentials; however most credentials utilized a unique set of standards for screening, training, and evaluating instructor candidates. Findings also demonstrated contradicting evidence for human capital theory, credentialist theory, and signaling theory, and the multiple rationales for the purpose of credentialing led to the exploration of a new theory of credentialing based on Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. The similarities and differences between outdoor credentials were explained by multiple factors including: geography, activity, philosophy, culture, politics and industry. Implications include a need for better transparency of training and assessment strategies and increased sharing of information among organizations and educational disciplines.
Date of publication
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  • In Copyright
  • Cizek, Gregory J.
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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