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Definition of Terms re Accreditation

Definition of Terms

This should be issued and read in conjunction with the RPIOL, APIOL, LPIOL and FIOL Criteria/Standards

Areas of outdoor learning – can include youth work, hard skills instruction, voluntary organisation leading, teaching, environmental studies, adventure therapy, development training, expedition leading, recreation, drama, art or other outdoor learning programmes which take place in challenging environments.

Challenging situations are situations that contain a cocktail of risks which are complex and non-routine, while being fairly well defined. The practitioner has responsibility for managing these risks without recourse to immediate assistance.  Any given situation would have to contain at least 2 of the risk elements outlined below to qualify as challenging;

    • Demanding environment with lots of potential hazards
    • Challenging group
    • Swiftly changing weather conditions
    • Technically demanding activity
    • Remote location such that the practitioner would need to manage any emergency for at least one hour
    • Use of potentially dangerous equipment e.g. knives, fire making equipment, etc.
    • Any other risk element

Controlled situations are situations where only one of the elements above (at most) is present, or the practitioner has recourse to immediate assistance.

Context - Examples of different contexts include type of group, venue, activity, course aims, or duration of course.

Elements of risk include demanding environments, challenging groups, swiftly changing weather conditions, technically demanding activities, remote locations, use of potentially dangerous equipment).

Evidence of competence - (Criterion 7) may include; i.e. whatever qualifications the participant needs in order to practise in their particular area/s of outdoor learning.  Evidence of competence in outdoor activities could include:

  • National Governing Body qualifications
  • degrees, professional qualifications (e.g. youth worker, teacher etc) training courses etc or providing
  • alternative evidence to the satisfaction of someone qualified in the activity to technical adviser level.

Operates independently the practitioner relies on their own judgement in making decisions about delivery.  Sessions are defined as periods when a  particular activity or subject is undertaken.  Minimum length is usually 1.5 hours.

Operates within strict guidelines - means that the practitioner’s own judgment is not relied upon in making decisions about delivery because tight guidelines have been provided for this.

Programme is a tailored series or sequence of learning activities, or stages within one activity that facilitates progression in individual and/or group learning that meets their learning aims.  Minimum length is usually a day.

Sessions are defined as periods when a particular activity or subject is undertaken.  Minimum length is usually 1.5 hours.

Sustainable - One definition of sustainability is  "sustainability is improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems” (IUCN/UNEP/WWF (1991). "Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living." Gland, Switzerland. Retrieved on: 2009-03-29).  This focuses mainly on the environmental aspects of sustainability.  In outdoor learning we wish to work towards a definition of sustainability which is closer to the ideas discussed in ^ Adams, W.M. (2006). "The Future of Sustainability: Re-thinking Environment and Development in the Twenty-first Century." Report of the IUCN Renowned Thinkers Meeting, 29–31 January 2006. Retrieved on: 2009-02-16 -, namely that sustainability is about conscious consideration of maintaining an equitable balance between social, environmental and economic factors, and being able to justify policies and practical actions in those terms.

The Adventure Activity Licensing Regulations may be used as an aid to defining an appropriate level of competence for the skills AALA covers.