Participants' perceptions of a one-day challenge course program
Wolfe, Brent David
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While many studies have sought to understand challenge courses and their benefits, few studies have sought to understand participants’ perceptions of these programs. In this study, 16 adults working at a dental office attended a one-day challenge course program designed to teach them lessons about communication and cooperation. Research questions focused on understanding participants’ perceptions of the program in general and, more specifically, their perceptions about communication, cooperation, and team functioning during and after the program. Data were collected via in vivo observations, digital video observations, one focus group, and two individual interviews with 11 of 16 participants. These qualitative sources of data were analyzed and nine themes emerged: (a) Support and Encouragement, (b) I’ve Gotta Do It, (c) Individual Emphasis, (d) Changes in Emotion, (e) Effectiveness of Communication, (f) Too Many Chiefs, (g) Cooperation, (h) Camaraderie, and (i) Impact of the Program. Presentation and discussion of these themes allowed for exploration of participants’ perceptions of the one-day challenge course program and offered answers to established research questions. Findings suggested that participants identified individual benefits and while improvements to team functioning related to communication and cooperation were not clearly recognized, a sense of enhanced camaraderie was acknowledged. Connections to related literature and suggestions for research and practice are also provided.