Impact of a three-day outdoor education programme on the perception of life effectiveness qualities of staff trainees in Kenyan corporate settings
Muthomi, Nkatha Helen
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Outdoor education offers a great opportunity for the development of individuals at social, personal and workplace levels. Corporate settings are now making use of outdoor education to enhance life effectiveness qualities. This study set to find out the impact of a three-day outdoor education programme on the life effectiveness qualities of staff trainees in Kenyan corporate settings. The study population was the staff trainees in Kenyan corporate settings who were going through staff training courses that did not include outdoor education at the time of the study. Sequential sampling technique was used in identifying the representative corporate settings which took their new staff through training. A quasi-experimental research design was used in the study. A pre-test was carried out before taking part in a three-day outdoor education programme and a post-test immediately after the three-day programme and one month later. During the outdoor education programme, the trainees were put into small groups of between eight and twelve members each. Each team participated in a similar set of activities that were carefully sequenced to provide the aims that are typical of outdoor education programmes. The Life Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ) by Neill (2000) which is a self-report instrument for evaluating the outcomes of outdoor education programmes was used for pre-test and post-tests on the staff trainees. The dependent variables were the life effectiveness qualities which included active initiative, self-confidence, time management, intellectual flexibility, achievement motivation, social competence, task leadership and emotional control. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) techniques were used at p<_0.05 level of significance. Turkey HSD Post hoc method was utilized to test the strength of the resulting significant differences in ANOVA. Data was also analyzed qualitatively. Findings indicated that the outdoor education programme had a significant impact on the staff trainees' life effectiveness qualities which was significantly sustained by the participants one month after training. The study also found similar influences from the outdoor education programme regardless of participants' level of education and gender. However, the older the participants were, the more they benefited in the life effectiveness qualities. Findings also showed that the experience with the outdoor education programme ignited passion for more of such activities amongst the staff trainees. On the overall, the outdoor education programme promoted and enhanced educational and behavioral developments as well as psychological, social and emotional changes as noted by the participants. From the findings of the study, it is therefore recommended that outdoor education programmes can be used for corporate team building in order to assist in maintenance of good workplace relationships as well as increase productivity. Thus, corporate settings in Kenya can have a workplace policy of using outdoor education as a tool of teambuilding for their employees. Future research in the country should consider using longitudinal designs, which will expose participants to many programmes as follow up interventions in order to investigate the long term gains in life effectiveness qualities.