The purpose of this exploratory qualitative research study was to identify the elements of adventure travel experiences that contribute to the process of transformational learning in adults. A qualitative research design was employed for this study. The sources of data were twelve pre-existing and de-identified interview transcriptions. A textual analysis was performed on the data, using an a priori approach to coding and analysis. An analysis of the data identified seven key themes that were critical for transformational learning in adults: (a) A Call to Adventure; (b) Being Open to Experience; (c) Entering a Zone Unknown; (d) Extra-Ordinary & Challenging Experiences; (e) Meaningful Interactions with Others (f) Re-Connecting to Self; and (g) Taking Action. These themes suggested a process for transformational learning in adults. In addition, (a) the authentic nature of the experience and (b) trip length, were also found to be important factors in transformational learning for these interviewees. These findings also suggest that intentionally designing adventure travel programs around these themes and the emergent transformational learning process has the potential to increase the likelihood of participants experiencing transformational learning through adventure travel.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Transformative learning; Adventure travel -- Psychological aspects; Adult learning

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

DePorres, Daphne;