National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Conducted Activities

Benchmark Competency Description

The Conducted Activity is a prepared, formal program that involves the planned physical movement of an audience from one place to another. This movement can take a variety of forms: walks, hikes, house tours, canoe trips, bus tours, cave tours, or other types of guided programs. Through directed experiences that intentionally integrate interpretive narration with resource immersion, conducted activities deeply engross and engage the visitors with tangible resources and their meanings.

Interpretive techniques for providing directed experiences may include demonstrations, games, role-playing, questions, sensory involvement, group interaction, use of spontaneous moments, or other techniques. When effectively presented, directed experiences provide opportunities for the audience to form their own intellectual and emotional connections to resource meanings.

Intentionally planned directed experiences progress from location to location to develop an idea relevant to the audience and the resource. The cohesive development of a relevant idea happens through the careful sequencing of directed experiences, the incorporation of the physical resources, and the use of transitions to link the experiences together at each stop. Through immersion in the resource and a cohesive sequence of interpretive opportunities, the conducted activity offers a physical and conceptual journey that can lead to greater awareness and appreciation of the resource.

Conducted activities provide flexibility for the audience to interact spontaneously with the resource, the interpreter and with each other. Appropriate presentation logistics and advanced communication skills allow the interpreter to facilitate an effective and safe immersion experience for the visitor in the particular resource and type of activity.

Competency Standard

All Interpreters:

  • Gain sufficient knowledge of the resource to safely and effectively guide groups of visitors through interactive experiences with the resource.
  • Understand audience needs and interests, including developmental levels and mobility issues.
  • Use appropriate techniques to offer directed experiences that engage visitors with the resource.
  • Skillfully integrate interpretive narration and resource immersion to offer opportunities for intellectual and emotional connections to resource meanings.
  • Select and apply an organizational structure and sequencing of directed experiences to cohesively develop a relevant idea.
  • Use transitions effectively to physically move and mentally engage the audience and to maintain meaningful focus and continuity of the program.
  • Understand group dynamics, physical group management, and how to plan, prepare, and accommodate for logistical issues such as timing, pacing, and resource protection needs.
  • Understand and effectively employ interactive communication skills.
  • Continuously self–assess for improvement.