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ETC 2017- Adventure Learning: Basics of Program Design

Posted by on March 30, 2017

Jumpstarting your Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) Program
(2-part workshop)

Whether your school does service projects, week without walls, cultural immersion or adventure programs you’ll need to know a few basics to get it started or improve your current program.

Workshop A will cover the basics of program design, logistics, desired learning outcomes & experiences for students

Why do ETOC? (show slides, download notes from website, my end goal is to create and free downloadable guide to planning & implementing successful EOTC expeditions)

  • Plan early! 6 months – year in advance
  • Choosing your focus (learning outcomes & desired experiences)

Jumpstart your EOTC program

Anatomy of EOTC

3-components of a trip (pre, during & post)

Pre- trip preparations

  • Informing students about the trip (itinerary, gear list, activities),
  • Checking student outdoor skills (cycling, swimming, hiking, fitness levels)
  • Pre-teaching curriculum connections (i.e. learning BEFORE the trip)
  • Other skills (using equipment, scientific probes, data collection, interviewing skills etc.)


During trip

  • Daily briefings
  • Communication with students, teachers & staff
  • Regular debriefings (sharing circles after activities etc.)

Post-trip (many if not most schools drop the ball on this one!)

  • Review itinerary
  • Feedback SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats)
  • Start planning for next year

Anatomy of a trip (1st day everyone is shell shocked & confused, 3rd day is a charm… trips should be 6-8 days to get most benefits for students)

Info we need (to avoid 50+ e-mails!)

  1. Activities & learning outcomes
  • Activities preferred
  • Experiences desired
  • Any learning outcomes
  • Standards or benchmarks to meet
  1. Types of trips
  • Adventure– kayaking, trekking, white water rafting, camping, snorkelling
  • Cultural immersion– village visits, homestays
  • Curriculum related– science, Independent Assessment (IB), geography, humanities, etc.
  • Service oriented– local schools, community projects, conservation (tree plantings, beach clean ups etc.)
  • Leadership– team building, cooperation games, role playing, empathy
  • Life Skills– market visits, cooking class, organizing a campsite
  1. Location
  • Indonesia (Bali, Sumatra, Java, Komodo)
  • Thailand (North or South)
  • Malaysia (Peninsular, East)

Itinerary– after we know the above information then we can design an itinerary

Logistics, risk & safety

  1. Trip info
  • Dates of trip
  • Arrival & departure times- impacts itinerary
  1. Student info
  • School / group name
  • Ages/grade level
  • How many students (please list male & female- sometimes it’s hard to tell from names!)
  • Rooming preferences- doubles, triples etc. (for number of rooms)
  • Rooms need to be clustered for safety (map of hotel property)
  1. Teacher info
  • How many teachers (male & female)
  • Teachers sharing rooms or single rooms
  • Contracts/expectations, teacher roles, refund policies, logistics,
  1. Risk & Safety
  • Skills/abilities- swimming, cycling, fitness level & ability etc.
  • Medical forms (food restrictions, allergies, medicines, past med history etc.)
  • Risk assessments & SOP’s

III. Payments & deposit (at least 1month before program)

  • Build the cost into tuition if at all possible
  • Pricing is dependent on the itinerary (itinerary can be designed to fit budget or designed to fit requested activities)
  • Determined by the number of participants
  • Refund policy



  • Perceived risk v. Real risk
  • Getting into the discomfort zone (out of the comfort zone)
  • Risk assessment basics (sample)
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
  • Background checks on third party providers

Benefits of risky play

Just how dangerous are ziplines

Fatal Singapore tree fall prompts questions

Click here to download sample Risk Assessment form

Click here to download sample Standard Operating Procedures form

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