A review of adventure learning


  • George Veletsianos University of Texas, Austin
  • Irene Kleanthous University of Manchester




distance education, online learning, e-learning


Adventure learning (AL) is an approach for the design of digitally-enhanced teaching and learning environments driven by a framework of guidelines grounded on experiential and inquiry-based education. The purpose of this paper is to review the adventure learning literature and to describe the status quo of the practice by identifying the current knowledge, misconceptions, and future opportunities in adventure learning. Specifically, the authors present an integrative analysis of the adventure learning literature, identify knowledge gaps, present future research directions, and discuss research methods and approaches that may improve the AL approach. The authors engaged in a systematic search strategy to identify adventure learning studies then applied a set of criteria to decide whether to include or exclude each study. Results from the systematic review were combined, analyzed, and critiqued inductively using the constant comparative method and weaved together using the qualitative metasynthesis approach. Results indicate the appeal and promise of the adventure learning approach. Nevertheless, the authors recommend further investigation of the approach. Along with studies that investigate learning outcomes, aspects of the AL approach that are engaging, and the nature of expert-learner collaboration, future adventure learning projects that focus on higher education and are (a) small and (b) diverse, can yield significant knowledge into adventure learning. Research and design in this area will benefit by taking an activity theory and design-based research perspective.

Author Biographies

George Veletsianos, University of Texas, Austin

George Veletsianos, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Texas, Austin. His prior post was as a Lecturer of Digital Technologies, Communication & Education at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests involve the design, development, and evaluation of digital learning environments and his focus areas are adventure learning, pedagogical agents, and the learner experience. George holds an MA and PhD degree in Learning Technologies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and further information about him can be found at www.veletsianos.com (Address: George Veletsianos, Instructional Technologies Program, Curriculum and Instruction Department, 244 Sanchez Building, 1 University Station D5700, University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712; veletsianos@gmail.com)

Irene Kleanthous, University of Manchester

Irene Kleanthous is a PhD candidate in Mathematics Education at the University of Manchester. She is a holder of a BA in Educational Studies with a minor degree in Psychology (2005), an MEd in ICT in Education (2006) and an MSc in Educational Research (2008). Her research interests deal with teachers' and students' attitudes to teaching and learning mathematics with technology. She is also interested in the use of dynamic geometry software (DGS) and the development of students’ geometrical thinking.



How to Cite

Veletsianos, G., & Kleanthous, I. (2009). A review of adventure learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(6), 84–105. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v10i6.755



Research Articles