Transformational learning through a women’s outdoor leadership course

Katherine O'Brien, Linda Allin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study considers the impact of Outward Bound UK’s first Women’s Outdoor Leadership Course, as a strategy for addressing the gender imbalance in leadership within the organisation and wider outdoor sector. A qualitative approach was taken in order to examine changes experienced by the women on the course, what contributed to such changes and the significance of the female environment. Analysis taking an initial grounded theory approach led to the use of Transformational Learning Theory as a framework for understanding the data. Results suggest that transformations occurred primarily around confidence and an inner authentic sense of self. Key contributing factors to this were the supportive environment, the focus on learning, challenge and reflection, and relationships with female peers. Findings can be used to inform an explicit theory of change for further women’s outdoor leadership development. More research is needed to understand the sustainability and impact of change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Early online date12 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Nov 2021


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