Stage 2 | Subject outline | Outdoor Education Stage 2 version control

Outdoor Education Stage 2
Subject outline

Version 4.0 - For teaching in 2024
Accredited in August 2019 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2020. 

Stage 2 | Subject outline | Learning Framework

Learning framework 

Stage 2 Outdoor Education is a 20-credit subject that consists of three interrelated focus areas. Together, the learning through these three focus areas enables students to develop and extend the core skills, knowledge, and understanding required to be safe, active, and informed participants in natural environments. The core skills, knowledge, and understanding are integrated in each of the focus areas and developed through experiential learning in the context of activities and journeys in natural environments. Students study all three focus areas:

  • Focus Area 1: Conservation and sustainability
  • Focus Area 2: Human connections with nature
  • Focus Area 3: Personal and social growth and development.
The interrelationship of the focus areas is shown in the diagram below.

Outdoor activities might include, for example, bushwalking, canoeing, rock climbing, and surfing. Outdoor journeys involve human-powered activities between more than one site.

Students participate in outdoor activities and journeys in natural environments for a minimum total of 9 days in the field. Students undertake at least two journeys. Each journey has a duration of at least 3 days in the field, and must provide opportunities to build self-reliance (under indirect supervision). The selected outdoor activities used across the outdoor journeys should vary. Students should have adequate previous experience in an outdoor activity when they will be under indirect supervision.

The learning framework for Stage 2 Outdoor Education

Skills, knowledge, and understanding for learning in natural environments 

Students develop an appreciation of their place in natural environments through learning experiences that take place in a variety of locations. As they spend time learning in natural environments, students develop a broad range of skills, knowledge, and understanding to support and manage safe, sustainable, and responsive experiences in natural environments.  

Students develop planning and risk-management strategies and practical skills for outdoor activities and journeys. Through a range of outdoor experiences, students develop practical outdoor skills and self-confidence, initiative, self-reliance, leadership, and collaborative skills that enable them to travel in a safe and environmentally sustainable way through natural environments.  

The development of skills, knowledge, and understanding may be assessed in the three assessment types through planning reports, documented student evidence, and reflective practice. 

Students develop the following skills, knowledge, and understanding through the study of the three focus areas.  

Preparation and planning 

  • develop an understanding of the natural environment to be explored 
  • make planning choices, including identifying equipment that is fit for purpose 
  • identify the practical outdoor skills required for specific activities and journeys and participate in and/or organise appropriate training; examples of skills include: 
    • navigational skills 
    • route planning 
    • selection of appropriate equipment and clothing 
    • minimal-impact camping skills 
    • consideration of appropriate food and nutrition 
    • technical skills relevant to the activity e.g. belaying techniques, knots, paddling. 
  • engage with likely risk scenarios in natural environments and explore the consequences  
  • develop personal capabilities and apply learning and skills to real-world experiences in natural environments. 

Managing risk 

  • understand the concepts of: 
    • hazard and peril 
    • challenge — the interplay of risk and competence 
    • adventure — managing the unknown 
    • absolute risk, real risk, and perceived risk. 
  • assess potential loss 
  • develop and implement risk-reduction strategies and emergency-action plans including casualty management  
  • develop an understanding of the legal and moral responsibilities of participants and leaders in outdoor activities. 

Leadership and decision-making 

  • identify and apply effective facilitation and leadership styles appropriate to the circumstances 
  • develop and nurture initiative and problem-solving skills during outdoor activities and journeys 
  • value and encourage positive individual contributions to group decision-making in natural environments  
  • allocate roles and responsibilities to group members. 

Self-reliance skills 

  • develop and demonstrate technical proficiency in practical skills appropriate to the outdoor activity 
  • develop autonomy in organising, planning, leading, and facilitating outdoor activities and journeys in natural environments 
  • consider necessary approvals for outdoor activities and journeys.