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Outdoor Wilderness Risk Management Train

Risk Management for Outdoor Programmes

Online Training Course for Outdoor Professionals

November 7 - November 28, 2020


November 7- 28, 2020. Four live online sessions:

    Saturday November 7

    Saturday November 14

    Saturday November 21

    Saturday November 28

Each session is one hour long. Session time (varies per participant time zone; example time zones below):

    11 am – noon Singapore/Beijing (UTC+8)

    1 pm – 2 pm Sydney AU (UTC+10)

    7 pm – 8 pm Los Angeles (UTC-8) (Friday)

Independent individual and group work occur between live sessions.


  • Gain critical knowledge of best practices in outdoor programme risk management

  • Learn procedures, systems and plans essential to meeting key outdoor safety standards

  • Understand how to apply successful risk management strategies to adventure programmes, experiential education, wilderness expeditions, and outdoor trips


Valuable for

Programme Coordinators/Managers, Risk Management officers, Risk Management/Safety Committee members, members of Boards of Directors, executive leadership. 

Course Format

The course is composed of four live video-conference sessions and three independent work periods:


1. Live sessions. Four live, video-conference sessions, one hour long, occurring the same day and time each week, for four consecutive weeks.  This include structured real-time small-group and large-group discussions and participant project presentations. These take place starting Saturday, November 7 and end Saturday, November 28. Live session timing (11 am Singapore/Beijing time, UTC+8) is designed to be convenient for participants from the Asia-Pacific region and western Americas.


2. Independent work. Between live video-conferences, three independent work periods for individual and remote small-group activity. This work includes:

  • Review of pre-recorded slide presentations with presenter video

  • Completion of readings

  • Participation in online discussion forums

  • Participation in interactive video-based decision-making activities

  • Completion of writing assignments (including writing risk management plan and strategic improvement plan content)

  • Peer review of select classmate writing content

  • Completion of organizational self-assessment

  • Completion of online worksheets

  • Participation in online risk decision-making role-playing scenario

  • Structured analysis of case-study examples

  • Completion of quizzes and final exam


These occur the weeks of November 8-14, 15-21, and 22-28, 2020.
Independent work is anticipated to take a minimum of 7-12 hours per week.


Jeff Baierlein, Director, Viristar Risk Management; past Executive Director at Outward Bound USA. 




USD $259 per individual enrollment. $225 per person for groups of five or more. Course fee includes four live sessions, materials for independent work sessions, an electronic copy of the course textbook Risk Management for Outdoor Programs: A Guide to Safety in Outdoor Education, Recreation and Adventure, and certification.


Live Session 1

Welcome, Orientation, Introductory Concepts in Risk Management


Independent Work 1

General Concepts in Risk Management

  • Approaches to Risk Management

  • Standards

  • Laws


Risk Domains

  • Organizational Culture

  • Activities and Programme Areas

  • Staff

  • Equipment

  • Participants

  • Subcontractors

  • Transportation

  • Business Administration       


Live Session 2

Facilitated Discussion

Participant Presentations: Self-Evaluation of Risk Management in Risk Management Domains


Independent Work 2

Risk Management Instruments

  • Risk Transfer

  • Incident Management

  • Incident Reporting

  • Incident Reviews

  • Risk Management Committee

  • Medical Screening

  • Risk Management Reviews

  • Media Relations

  • Documentation

  • Accreditation

  • Systems Thinking


Special Topic: COVID-19 Management

Live Session 3

Facilitated Discussion

Participant Presentations: Self-Evaluation of Risk Management with Risk Management Instruments


Independent Work 3

Synthesis & Application

Risk Management Plan Development

Strategic Improvement Plan for Your Organization

Final Exam


Live Session 4

Facilitated Discussion

Participant Presentation: Strategic Improvement Plan for Your Organization

Conclusion & Certificates



The course textbook is Risk Management for Outdoor Programs: A Guide to Safety in Outdoor Education, Recreation and Adventure ( This 208-page text is provided to each student in electronic format.


Participants take short quizzes throughout the course and a final written exam. Individuals who fully participate in learning activities and successfully complete the final exam receive a certificate from Viristar valid for three years.

Previous Participants Say:

  • “Viristar delivered a high quality training and I would recommend it to any outdoor program.”  Si Dilks, ChinaClimb

  • “Extremely useful, important and informative course…very enjoyable and worthwhile.” Kelvin Fawcett, Nord Anglia International School

  • “Great insight into risk management—took a lot away to implement back at my workplace. Very well run.  Great course!” Liam Warren, Harrow International School


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