What's Your Grade: Using the 'new normal' to design a tool that could identify participant skill level within the adventure sport industry in rural Scotland

Sarah Morton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Abstract

Introduction
Takingadesign-ledapproachthispaperdiscusseshowthe dentificationandimplementationof
atool,whichcouldbeusedtoaccuratelyidentifyparticipantskilllevel,couldbenefitthe
adventuresportindustryinruralScotland.
Theemergenceofanexperienceeconomy,promotingexperiencesasmorevaluablethan
possessions,haspromptedanincreasedinterestedinbecomingaregularadventuresport
participant.
Beginnerlevelresources,suchascoursesandkit,arereasonablyaccessibleHowever,the
transitiontowardsnoviceparticipantappearstobeagreyerarea;whichlacksclarityforhow
onemightidentifytheirskilllevel,androuteforprogressionwithintheirchosenareaof
adventuresport.
Thisstudyusesdesignandknowledgeexchangetoexplorehowtodevelopanappropriate,
universallyfriendlytoolthatcouldbeimplementedwithintheadventuresportindustryinrural
Scotland;withtheaimofaccuratelyassessingparticipantskilllevel,inordertoretainand
increaseparticipantnumbers.
Methods
Interviews– withnoviceandexperiencedadventuresportparticipantsandadventuresport
providers.
NarrativeInquiry– withexperiencedandprofessionaladventuresportparticipants,exploring
self-modifiedpiecesofkitandthereasonformodification.
Auto-ethnographicApproach– takenfromauthor’sownexperienceofhavinglivedandworked
inthreeruralareas, allof whichrelyheavilyonanincomefromtheadventuresportindustryto
supportthelocaleconomy.
Findings
Theimportanceofbeingableto identifyparticipantskilllevelwithintheadventuresport
industryhasbecomeagrowingissueforbothparticipantsandproviders.Atpresent,there
seemstobenoclearanduniversaltoolormethodbywhichtoidentifyparticipantskilllevel–
participantsaregenerallyself-assessedorassessedincomparisontohisorherpeers.
Bothapproachesareriskyandhavelargescopeforerror– presentingtheopportunityforsafety
issues,butalsopossiblyalienatingpotentialparticipantsfromtheadventuresportindustry
purelybecausetheyhaveassessedthemselvesasbeingmorecompetentthantheyfactuallyare.
77
Noviceparticipantsreportalackofinformationthatcomesfromtrustedandreliablesources,
ratherthansimplyamatterofopinion.Thereisclearconfusionwhenattemptingtoaccess
resourcesincludingcourses,generalinformationandthepurchasingofkit.Additionally,an
intimidationofestablishedandexperienced participantsisreported,participantsexpressa
desireforasolutionthatmightovercomethisbarrier,withthepotentialtomaketheadventure
sportcommunitymoreopentothem.
Conclusion
Theidentificationofatoolormethodbywhichtoassessskilllevelwithintheadventuresport
industryinruralScotlandcouldproveusefulforbothparticipantsandproviders.Suchatool
wouldallowparticipantstoaccuratelyassesstheirskilllevel,thusembarkingonparticipation
witharealisticandgenuineawarenessoftheirneedsandwhattheymightbecapableof
achieving.
Thetoolwouldreduceembarrassmentandriskassociatedwithparticipatinginadventuresport
– benefitingbothparticipantsandpractitioners.Potentialparticipantscouldexperiencea
feelingofconfidence,andreducedintimidationwhenattemptingtobreakintotheadventure
sportcommunity,astheywouldbeapproachingexperiencedparticipantswithrealisticviewsof
whattheymightachieveasparticipants.Asaresult;thistoolcouldhelptoretain new
participants,andincrease overallparticipationnumbers.
Futuredevelopmentscouldbedirectedtowardsadventuresportretailoutlets– usingdesign
andthesametooltoidentifyhownoviceparticipantscouldapproachthepurchaseof
appropriateadventuresportkitandclothing.Thiswouldincreasetheknowledgeofboththe
retailassociatesandparticipants.Itcouldalsocontributeto industry-appropriatemarket
researchandintelligence,whichcouldbeappliedtothefuturedevelopmentofclothing,kitand
brandingconceptsfortheadventuresportindustry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages76-77
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2014
EventInternational Adventure Conference - Norway, Sogndal, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Nov 201626 Nov 2016

Conference

ConferenceInternational Adventure Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CitySogndal
Period24/11/1626/11/16

Keywords

  • Design
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Community
  • Adventure sport
  • Co-design
  • Participation
  • Qualitative methods
  • Ethnography

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