Travel and Tourism/Abstract for 9th Asia-Pacific Chrie Conference June 2011

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Hospitality and Tourism Education: From a Vision to an Icon"

June 2-5, 2011 in Hong Kong


Experiential learning and work-integrated education in hospitality and tourism

Authors names: Helen Geytenbeek and Hillary Jenkins -Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand

Tourism is a dynamic industry, where those involved in the delivery of services or the selling of products, need a specialised skill set. Our students gain these skills through the use of an educational programme which offers experiential learning, in several focused and dedicated environments. We deliver work integrated education by direct experience, co-operative capability, team building and self reflection.

We offer two courses “Conference and Events” and “Industry Operation Research Project” in the School of Business through the Diploma of Applied Travel and Tourism, Level 5. These intensive programmes have been designed to create ‘work ready’ students for the tourism industry. In short we are providing an innovative and creative educational programme which is unique in its delivery, content and application.

How do we achieve this?

By providing an experiential environment which includes:

  • Wikieducator (an internet based open platform) which develops open education and training resources. Course weblogs are contributed to by staff and students to facilitate learning and reflection of experiences
  • 100 seat training restaurant (open to the public) for planning, designing and delivery of a themed dinner for “customers/delegates”
  • A co-operative learning environment where year one students from the School of Hospitality ‘supervise’ the tourism students in the restaurant. This provides the opportunity for the hospitality students to consolidate and reflect on their learning, while using themselves as role models
  • A functions department where students work alongside an industry professional to gain valuable coaching and feedback on their progress
  • A dedicated classroom designed to facilitate team and individual learning through its design and layout

By providing an experiential teaching/facilitating experience

  • Students develop their co-operative capability – through ice breakers/games that are fun, non-threatening and group based. These promote growth and positive change in individuals
  • Team building (forming, storming, norming and performing) is learnt by students by forming a company, designing a logo, business cards and letterhead, then liaising with a ‘client’ to organise a three day conference
  • Students plan and prepare a ‘themed dinner’ for the final night of the conference
  • Students contribute towards the design and development of open education resources – which will be available internationally for further learning purposes through Wikieducator

By providing opportunity to process learning through role play and work experience (making sense from what is learned)

  • Simulated and real work environments are created providing students with an opportunity to move from awareness, to knowledge, to action
  • Each individual brings to the course prior knowledge, strengths and weaknesses. These offer unlimited growth potential as the students learn to co-operate and develop their inter-relationships
  • Good constructive criticism is emphasized and provided in a safe environment
  • Our facilitators use key techniques of observation, listening, feedback and questioning to assist the students to internalise their learning experience
  • We encourage the students to positively manage stressful situations. The process that follows can lead to lasting changes
  • Students are able to reflect on the successful delivery of the required learning outcomes: establish objectives for a conference, design of a branding image for a company, preparation of a conference portfolio (in accordance with clients requirements), investigate venue selection, process specific travel and accommodation requirements for conference and event delegates, design a themed dinner, generate a banquet event order. In the form of a 10 minute presentation.

How do we measure student and programme success? Through; employment and internship offers, positive employer evaluation and feedback, positive student evaluation and feedback regarding employment. Employers will often comment (through evaluation) that our students; show an awareness of industry and an instant understanding of what is expected of them, are customer focussed, show initiative and confidence, enjoy a challenge, show a strong willingness to learn and are quick to pick up skills.

This educational programme provides a variety of experiences and opportunities in a unique and innovative environment, producing strong confident, industry-ready students. The combination of content, delivery and application provide the foundation for a robust learning platform for the individual, the wider community and the tourism industry as a whole.