Outdoor Learning in Canada: Notes & FAQs

This FREE textbook and open access resource is intended for audiences of both aspiring and established outdoor learning (OL) practitioners. These include:

  • college undergraduates,
  • university graduate students,
  • school teachers,
  • camp counsellors,
  • heritage interpretors,
  • environmental educators,
  • activity technicians,
  • skills instructors,
  • tourism outfitters,
  • recreational guides,
  • educational instructors,
  • developmental facilitators,
  • licensed therapists,
  • performance coaches,
  • corporate team-builders,
  • mental health professionals,
  • Indigenous Elders,
  • knowledge keepers,
  • other practitioners, and
  • interested members of the public.

This text serves several purposes:

  1. to disseminate best practices that improve both the efficacy and the effectiveness of OL,
  2. to showcase the diverse approaches to OL and highlight OL programs conducted across Canada,
  3. to give voice to practitioners and participants in a way that explains the impact of OL in Canada,
  4. to build a body of knowledge that clearly communicates OL contributions to Canadian society, and
  5. to provide a resource for recommended reading in OL education and training courses or programs.


EXAMPLES: Please include the voices of Canadian participants, practitioners, and programs in your chapter. You can do this by quoting other sources (articles, websites, and social media) or by asking selected individuals to write a couple of paragraphs for your chapter. These can be inserted into your text or added as separate exemplars with a shaded text box.

SINGLE FIRST AUTHORSHIP: All authors must be Canadian. Since we are seeking a wide diversity of national voices and perspectives, we will be limiting first authorship to one chapter per first author only. However, in subsequent chapters this same author may contribute as a co-author (e.g. second or third author) as deemed appropriate based on interest and expertise.   Multiple authors of a particular chapter must discuss and agree on the order of authorship based on the general rule that the first author is principle (lead) author, and subsequent authors appear in order of decreasing contribution (APA 7th Ed.).

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS: We are looking for a chapter length between 2,000 and 4,000 words. You are welcome to write more (7,000 maximum), just let us know, so we can be ready for your larger than average contribution. The editorial team will entertain outlines or partial drafts at any time and provide feedback to help you with your writing progress.

STYLE and READING LEVEL: We would like these submissions to follow the APA-7 style of referencing (ideally 10-20 references). If you are unfamiliar with this style, simply ask via the email address below and we can provide assistance. Please write for a reader with a minimum high school graduation level. This means defining all technical terms and providing diagrams or photographs. We will improve on graphics as requested.

PEER-REVIEW: Chapters will be reviewed by at least two peers, who will make suggestions for improvement. Please let us know, by email below, if you would like to be a reviewer.

IF YOU THINK YOU MAY OVERLAP WITH ANOTHER TOPIC, then please contact the email address below and request that author's email address (unless you already have it). You can then correspond together in order to avoid repetitive content. Thanks.

NEW TOPICS WITHOUT AUTHORS: We are particularly seeking the contributions of Indigenous authors. If you know a Canadian who might make an excellent author for a specific topic, please send their contact details (name, topic, email, and phone) with my thanks to:

  • s i m o n _ p r i e s t @ y a h o o . c o m (please remove spaces)

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

How were authors selected to contribute?

An initial list of 60 Canadian authors was created based on their acknowledged expertise in a particular area of outdoor learning (OL).  The acknowledgement of their expertise was established from a body of written scholarship in their area, dedicated experience over time, and recommendations from other experts.  Approximately 50 of those 60 invited authors agreed to contribute and the project was launched with an open call for additional contributions.  Over two dozen Canadian authors responded to the open call and were asked to provide outlines of what content they would cover in their chapters.  On the basis of these outlines, authors were either accepted or rejected by the editors.  Rejections were primarily based on poorly developed outlines or duplication of existing topics.  Several authors were asked to revise topics that were too narrow in scope or regionally specific. Acceptances were made for well-developed outlines that filled a gap in the OL literature in Canada.  Another dozen authors were added to the table of contents from responses to the open call for contributions.  Throughout this process, the editors actively sought out potential authors to fill the few remaining gaps.

Why is this edited online textbook not associated with a publisher?

One criticism of published and edited textbooks is that experts write the chapters, while publishers and editors reap the royalties.  Another obvious concern is the rising costs of textbook production toward astronomically high prices in some cases.  To address both problems and to make information widely and easily accessible to practitioners, students, and scholars, this open-access resource was designed to be free.  This means that the authors, reviewers, editors, and copy-editors have volunteered their valuable time to contribute to a project that can only improve the quality and quantity of OL in Canada.  Please note that this project is organic and evolving and as such, the editors are open to developing partnerships and collaborations in the future that are win-win.  Thus, an arrangement may be made with a publisher in the future, as long as the principle of free and open access is respected.  

How does the peer review process work?

The peer-review process is an important part of scholarship for academics but is of little consequence to others.  All academic papers (written by university faculty and graduate students) will receive at least two reviews by peer experts in outdoor learning.  Other authors, for whom this label is less of a concern, will receive at least one.  The peer review process will examine the final draft of each manuscript and recommend changes to format and content.  Format changes may address spelling, grammar, and references or citations.  Content changes will encourage authors to write more broadly to cover a wider range or more precisely to focus on a particular aspect of their topic.  Reviewers make these recommendations on the basis of their expert opinions as to what changes would most benefit the intended reader.  On receipt of these recommendations, an author would normally make most changes to satisfy reviewers, but may also disagree with some recommendations and present reasons why.  If the reviewers accept the argument, then no changes are necessary.  However, if disagreements ensue for both parties, these unresolved items will be settled by the editors, and they expect that a rejection will be rare.  The editor’s decisions on these matters are final and may not be appealed.

Does this project duplicate OL content available in other available texts?

While some of the topics discussed in the chapters of this text may be found in other textbooks, and these chapters will likely reference those other sources, authors have been informed of the importance of “Canadianizing” their chapter with uniquely Canadian content.  This may mean quoting Canadians, providing examples from Canadian programs, or adding the voices of Canadian practitioners and participants involved in OL.

Why are some chapters included that do not seem to be uniquely Canadian?

Some chapters describe best theory and practice as established in the global domain of OL and so are not uniquely Canadian in topic.  However, examples of how these theories and practices are being conducted in Canada are added to each generic chapter to provide uniquely Canadian content.  Further, these best theory and practice chapters may previously be relatively unknown to Canadian readers targeted by this work.  In other words, it is important to not only include content that is unique to Canada, but also include other important OL content that should be available and openly accessible to a broad Canadian readership, especially for practitioners and students who may or may not be aware of best theory and practices.

How will this project be sustainable long-term?

The website will be made available for at least the next decade, and the editors are currently discussing and planning for sustainability and succession planning.  For instance, the current plan is that once the project is finished, it will be transferred to a national association or publisher.  Editors will continue in their roles for the long term, and when an author or editor is no longer able or willing to continue in their role, a substitute will be found by the national association or publisher.   At a frequency determined by the editors (likely every few years), chapter authors will be invited to revise their chapter (if necessary) and new authors may be invited to submit new chapters on relevant new topics as these arise.  This is important because scholarship and best theory and practice continue to evolve and improve based on research, policy and practice; thus it is important that the website remains current. These plans may evolve and develop differently as the project develops and the editors form new partnerships or collaborations.

Is there a plan to improve the website quality?

Yes.  This initial iteration of the website is merely a draft working version to track contributions and demonstrate progress.  Once the project is almost finished, with most chapters accepted and all contributions finalized, the website will be professionally redesigned.

Who will own the copyright for this text and each of the chapters?

We will be using a Creative Commons license for the online OLiC resource and for each chapter individually.  More specifically, the work will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). The primary reason for using this standardized designation is because we want contributors to retain their authorship rights.  This is important because the OLiC resource and chapters may be revised or updated in the future, and the entire resource will be open access and publicly available online.  This license lets others (including original authors) copy and distribute the work (e.g. for students in a class), and also "remix, transform, and build upon the material” for non-commercial purposes, as long as credit is attributed to the original authors and any revised creations use the identical license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). More information about Creative Commons licenses is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/.


If you have additional questions about this project, please send them to the editors and we will add them here with our answers.  Please understand that we are constantly improving the process as the product is evolving.  If we waited to make a perfect process, the product would not have moved passed concept.

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