Kurt Hahn Consortium for Values and Experiential Learning
The Consortium is located at The Pennsylvania State University and it is hosted in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, and the Rock Ethics Institute.
The Consortium is a central hub to connect research, practice and policy with a focus on all aspects of Hahn’s legacy organizations. We are a collection of leaders from around the world with a unique expertise in working, researching and thinking about Hahn legacy organizations, Hahn's philosophy. We aspire to enhance the quality of work happening with individuals and groups, positively influence policy at all levels and collaborate to maximise the value of research. See our Current Projects and Collaborations.
Outward Bound operates in 34 nations, and its programs differ due to those cultural and geographic differences. Similarly, even though character generally means the same thing around the world, different cultures may have different values that are incorporated in their definition of character.
This three-year project aims to reveal how outdoor experiential education can most effectively build character and how to develop character in a multicultural setting while remaining sensitive to the communities served by Outward Bound and participants in their programs.
RPTM graduate student, Scott Fairley, is exploring these questions for his Master's Thesis research advised by Dr. Allison. This fall, Scott is conducting retrospective interviews with alumni (aged 20-29) who participated in Outward Bound Teen Expeditions between 2012 and 2019. Interested alumni, who meet these criteria, can contact Scott directly at email@example.com to participate.
Why, then, have these trips grown more and more popular over the subsequent decades? Research indicates that expeditions foster personal growth in participants. Pete Allison, associate professor of recreation, park, and tourism management, has spent almost three decades examining how expeditions help people grow into more confident and purpose-driven adults.
“Many times, I have heard the cliché that an expedition changed someone’s life,” said Allison. “I wanted to research whether this was true, and if so, how, and why.”
Penn State University (PSU) is the home for the Kurt Hahn Consortium for Values and Experiential Learning (KHCVEL) which is a collective of passionate academics and practitioners interested in supporting the work of Hahn legacy organizations.
OBI and PSU have signed a Memorandum of Understanding as an indicator of their commitment to collaborating with each other. This is primarily aimed at collaborative applications for research funding to examine character, develop capacity in OB schools around the world to share good practices and also develop research capacities in OB schools.
Sarah Wiley of OBI said … “Outward Bound International is thrilled to be collaborating with Penn State University on a variety of research initiatives. Our partnership with PSU will support and further OBI’s global research agenda; helping the Outward Bound global network of schools to continue to develop and deliver high-impact outdoor learning programs for young people around the world. “
Dr. Pete Allison, director of KHCVEL commented, ‘we are delighted to collaborate with OBI as the leading provider of outdoor education worldwide. We are excited to partner in research which will directly and indirectly positively impact the quality of educational experiences people will have outdoors.’