The impact of a rock-climbing program: a mixed methods case study of high school students’ climbing self-efficacy




Boudreau, Patrick

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The popularity of rock-climbing is continuously increasing. However, little research is available on the pedagogy of rock-climbing. Student climbing self-efficacy and the learning activities and instructional strategies used were monitored throughout a five-month long high school rock-climbing program. The baseline rock-climbing experience of consenting participants (n = 26) ranged from novice to the junior competitive level. This case study of a single class of 30 students included both quantitative and qualitative data sources. Data collection methods included: (a) questionnaires, (b) observations of the learning environment, (c) individual reflection journals, (d) focus group interviews, and (e) a course outline. Quantitative analysis revealed no significant change in the self-efficacy scores of participants. Qualitative analysis provided insight into: (a) the type of learning environment conducive to improving climbing self-efficacy, (b) the influence of the sources of self-efficacy, and (c) the activities that were more efficient for developing student climbing self-efficacy. This study explored how sources of self-efficacy can be translated into learning activities and instructional strategies for rock-climbing programs. Learning activities and instructional strategies should be meaningful, diversified, individualized, progressively challenging, and take place in a safe and collaborative environment. A future study may investigate the effect of participation in climbing programs on motivations to pursue climbing independently.



rock-climbing, self-efficacy, adventure physical activity, pedagogy, physical education, learning activity, teaching strategy, case study