|Abstract or Summary
- This phenomenological inquiry explored dimensions of reflection for older adults in a developmental oriented adventure education experience. Data were gathered from emergent interviews with four individuals while participating in a multi-day, self-contained experiential education program conducted in a rugged environment, and led by a Navajo leader. Two principle research questions guided the design of this study: (a) What themes describe the experience of reflection for older adult participants of adventure education?, and (b) How does reflection in adventure education support older adult learning and higher development?
Analysis of data yielded three central themes, with ten sub-themes nested within the central themes. Theme one, connecting to personal values, contained seven supporting sub-themes: (a) You know these people are not poor, (b) we could all live a lot simpler, (c) I just love Willow to death, (d) we’ve given them a bad hand, (e) she is still grieving, (e) here I can just be me, and (f) connecting through story. Theme two, time orientation, contained three supporting sub-themes: (a) The here and now, (b) looking forward, and (c) looking back. Theme three, health, captured participants reflection that focused on mental and physical health.
Emerging from these thematic descriptions were five observations that demonstrated how reflection in adventure education supported the learning and higher development of the study’s older adults: (a) Participants engaged in a process of reconsidering their values, (b) participant reflection process resembled reminiscence and life review, (c) participants enjoyed an authentic experience, (d) participants made connections to others through story, and (e) participant intellectual development was enriched through reflection.