|dc.description.abstract||Taking into consideration outdoor experiential learning's popularity as an effective method for the improvement of personal and group related skills (locus of control (Hans, 2000), self-esteem (Romi & Kohan, 2004), organizational abilities (Russell et al., 2000), social abilities (Meyer, 2000; Hui & Cheung, 2004; Dent, 2006), trust, communication, decision making and group dynamics (Ewert & McAvoy, 2000), there exists much uncertainty how program components relate to outcomes (Russell & Phillips-Miller, 2002; Sibthorp; 2003; Gass & Priest, 2006). Sibthorp et al. (2007:1) and Paisley et al. (2008:201-202) state that too much attention is directed at what participants learn and not how learning takes place. Outdoor experiential learning is mainly centre-based and wilderness-based (Hinkle, 1999:190; Hans, 2000:35), and due to the interchangeable use of these two methods, this confusion has occurred (Gillis & Gass, 2004:601; Epstein, 2004:107-108). In order to develop more successful programs a need has arisen to determine exactly how program components relate to program outcomes (Hans, 2000:33; Russell, 2000:170; Russell & Phillips-Miller, 2002:415; Gass & Priest, 2006:79). Taking this into consideration, Beringer and Martin (2003:30) state that change is usually only attributed to action and experience. In this regard Miner (2003:6), Cole (2005:23), Berger and McLeod (2006:82) and Hill (2007:339) believe that the symbolic meaning of wilderness and its therapeutic role is largely being overlooked or ignored compared to the ecological and experiential values thereof. Although many suggest that the physical environment is important for achieving program outcomes, future research could focus more on the difference of programs in wilderness, unfamiliar non-wilderness environments (such as rope courses) and familiar environments such as classrooms and workplaces (McKenzie, 2000:20). For a clearer understanding on how program components relate to outcomes, Priest (1996) (also see Priest, 1998 and Williams, 2000) indicates by using a comparative study that if group initiatives are more successful than rope courses for the improvement of organizational effectiveness, it can give valuable insight of what specific method should be used for achieving specific outcomes (Priest, 1996:37). Taking this into consideration it is the purpose of this study to compare the effectiveness of a centre-based adventure program with an expedition-based wilderness program with regard to personal and group effectiveness, and to determine if the personal experience of restoration (Kaplan, 1995:172-173; Laumann et al., 2001:31-32), physical self (Berger & McLeod, 2006:91; Caulkins et al., 2006:21), prfmitiveness, humility, timelessness (Cole, 2005:26; Johnson et al., 2005:7), solitude, privacy, freedom of choice (Borrie & Roggenbuck, 2001:7), personal self (Russell & Farnum, 2004:39) and spiritual upliftment (Irvine & Warber, 2002:80; Berger & McLeod, 2006:91) are symbolically unique to wilderness participation. This study made use of a crossover design with a mixed-method approach which De Vos (2005:360) refers to as a combination of quantitative and qualitative research in a single study. In a crossover design all the participants take part in both interventions (Simon, 2002:1), which is, in this case, the centre-based adventure programme and expedition-based wilderness programme. There were 28 third year students (14 men and 14 women), aged 20-23 (x= 21.6 ± 0.7) from the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) who took part in this study. The participants were identified using an availability sample and were randomly divided into two experimental groups (7 men and 7 women).
The research instrument used to measure personal effectiveness was the Review of Personal Effectiveness and Locus of Control (ROPELOC) developed and piloted by Richards et al. (2002). This questionnaire measures personal effectiveness through seven major components. This questionnaire was administered in the form of a quantitative pre-and post-test to both groups. For the measurement of group effectiveness an improved version of the one,found in Herselman (1998) was used. This questionnaire measures group effectiveness through several factors, such as communication, team spirit, decision making and planning, which are considered important for effective group functioning. In combination with this questionnaire an improved version of the Recreation Experience Preference Scales (Manfredo et al., 1996) was used. This research instrument is developed to determine why people engage in recreation, what people want from it and how people might benefit from it. Both of these questionnaires (group effectiveness and Recreation Experience Preference Scales) were administered in the form of a quantitative post-test to both groups. In combination with the quantitative procedure, one-on-one and focus group interviews were conducted with each participant after every test. With regard to personal effectiveness results indicated that most of the ROPELOC components changed significantly. Between the two programs differences with medium effect (d=0.5) were found in self-confidence (d=0.53), stress management (d=0.42), quality seeking (d=0.62) and coping with change (d=0.49), all in favour of the expedition-based wilderness program. Even though both programs are very effective for the improvement of personal effectiveness, it is strongly recommended that an expedition-based wilderness program should be used. This is mainly attributed to the effect of the wilderness environment. The experience of solitude, privacy and freedom of choice, spiritual upliftment and restoration proved to be the most powerful. In terms of group effectiveness results indicated medium (d=0.5) to significant (d>0.8) differences mostly in favour of the centre-based adventure program in communication abilities (d=0.52), competition within the group (d=0.83) and productiveness (d=0.68). Although both programmes are rated very effective for the improvement of group effectiveness, it is strongly recommended that a centre-based adventure program should be used. This is mainly attributed to active involvement, intense social interaction and continuous group discussions. Furthermore, a significant sequence effect in favour of first attending the centre-based adventure program and thereafter the expedition-based wilderness program was documented, which lead to the conclusion that the two programmes should be used in combination. For a meaningful adventure experience results showed that the personal experience of restoration, physical self, primitiveness, humility, timelessness, solitude, privacy, freedom of choice, personal self and spiritual upliftment made the most important contribution during the expedition-based wilderness program and that this program is most effective in creating this. However, it is possible to experience these components during a centre-based adventure program, but to a lesser extent and with different meaning.||