Book Review – “Open To Outcome”

Open To Outcome; A Practical Guide For Facilitating And Teaching Experiential Reflection  offers some simple, practical tools that are relevant to outdoor education.

A brief survey of everyone you know will most likely reveal that among the top five moments of learning in their lives, at least four did not take place in the classroom. The learning that really sticks, that comes to guide us in times of crisis, is learned through our own experiences.

This opening paragraph is a gem and gets to the point of experiential learning quickly. Manufactured situations fall far behind actual immersion in terms of educational relevance. Said another way, people learn more when they’re actively doing something rather than just talking about it. The role of the instructor, then, isn’t to stand in front of a group or an individual and tell them what they need to know, often referred to as the “sage on the stage” model. Instead, it’s to design and facilitate situations where participants are most likely to learn.
The main point of the book is the “5 questions” model, to be used by facilitators in debriefing a group after an experience.  The five questions are:

  1. Did you notice…?
  2. Why did that happen?
  3. Does that happen in life?
  4. Why does that happen?
  5. How can you use that?

The goal of the questions is to prompt self-reflection and help the brain to process the experience.

I liked this little book.  You could read it in one sitting, and there is a lot of solid material that can add to the bushcraft or outdoor educator’s took kit.  The five questions model is a simple, easy to remember, and hands-on example of how reinforce the educational component of experiential learning.

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