Evidence-based design

The Helmsman Project is absolutely committed to drawing upon scientific research to ensure that

(i) The Helmsman Project’s program has been developed on the most robust foundations

(ii) the outcomes are evaluated empirically.

To this end, the program has been designed with input from the University of Sydney, University of Western Sydney and the University of Wollongong.

Empirical evaluation of outcomes

A longitudinally designed randomised control trial is being undertaken, overseen by Dr Michael Cavanagh (University of Sydney) and Distinguished Professor Herb Marsh (Oxford University/ACU).

The program aims to catalyse these measurable outcomes for individual participants (referred to as ‘life skills’). Growth across these areas, it is hypothesised, will result in increased engagement, academic resilience and wellbeing:

Hope: Participants set goals, identify pathways & develop the self-belief to achieve them

Self-regulation: Participants learn to take ownership of their feelings, behaviours; learn to work with their personal strengths and those of others; develop a level of awareness to assist them with decision-making and interactions

Resilience: Participants develop the cognitive skills necessary to overcome setbacks, learn from mistakes and remain committed to working towards a bright future

In 2014, The Helmsman Project was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) linkage grant of $300,000 over three years to deepen and expand the organisation’s commitment to undertaking high quality research into the impact of adventure-based coaching programs for young people.

The body of knowledge created as a result of The Helmsman Project research program will provide a thorough understanding of the value of adventure-based coaching as a means of equipping young people with the psychological skills required to maximise their school engagement and achieve their full potential.

The study will be one of the largest and most detailed ever undertaken in this space in the world. The Helmsman Project will disseminate information in peer reviewed journals as a contribution to the body of knowledge in the fields of education, positive psychology, adventure education, coaching and youth development.