Tourism and Hospitality Education: Best Practices for Instruction

In the sphere of tourism and hospitality education, instructors play a pivotal role in shaping the future professionals of the industry. Implementing effective teaching methodologies tailored to student preferences while aligning with industry standards is essential for preparing students for real-world challenges. To create this article, selected and willing faculty members and students from the College of International Tourism and Hospitality Management (CITHM) were interviewed. The purpose of the interviews was to learn about some of the best practices that instructors in the tourism and hospitality fields can use to maximize the learning opportunities for their students.

Student Preference:

Understanding student preferences is fundamental for engaging them effectively. In the modern classroom, students and teachers respond well with visual aids [1]. Incorporating visually stimulating materials such as slideshows, videos, and infographics can enhance comprehension and retention of complex concepts. Visual aids not only capture attention but also facilitate better understanding through imagery and illustrations. It has been discovered in a study [2] that those who are less proficient and more sensitive individuals benefit from visual help.

Application-based learning is another favored approach among students. Rather than passively receiving information, students prefer to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios. Introducing case studies relevant to the tourism and hospitality industry allows students to analyze and solve practical challenges, thereby honing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These case studies serve as invaluable learning tools, offering insights into industry dynamics and best practices.

Moreover, emphasizing actual outputs from coursework provides students with a sense of accomplishment and reinforces their learning. CITHM students are skilled based learners and enjoy outputs such as food products and marketing videos. Assignments and projects that mirror industry practices allow students to showcase their skills and creativity, preparing them for the demands of the workforce. Additionally, inviting industry practitioners as guest speakers or mentors exposes students to firsthand experiences and current trends, bridging the gap between academia and the professional world.

Role-playing for Tourism Students:

It has been shown that role-playing activities are a successful teaching method with experiential and active elements that support students’ autonomy [3].  By assuming different roles, students develop empathy, communication skills, and the ability to handle diverse situations. Instructors can design role-playing activities where students enact various roles such as hotel managers, tour guides, or event planners, fostering teamwork and decision-making skills. These simulations provide a safe environment for students to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from them without real-world consequences.

Case Studies for Fourth Year:

As students’ progress through their academic journey, they benefit from more advanced and specialized case studies, particularly in their fourth year. These case studies plunge deeper into complex issues and strategic decision-making processes within the tourism and hospitality industry. By analyzing real-life examples of successful and unsuccessful ventures, students gain insights into strategic planning, risk management, and sustainable practices. Incorporating case studies tailored to fourth-year students’ academic level challenges them to apply theoretical frameworks in nuanced contexts, preparing them for leadership roles in the industry.

Teachers’ Strategies:

Instructors play a multifaceted role in creating an engaging and effective learning environment. Incorporating elements of gamification into lessons can make learning enjoyable and immersive. In addition to raising student engagement, instructional games and simulations encourage positive interpersonal behaviors including cooperative learning and healthy competitiveness [4]. By incorporating game-like elements such as rewards, challenges, and levels, instructors can motivate students to actively participate in their learning journey.

A strategy-based approach involves aligning teaching methods with students’ individual learning styles and preferences. By understanding students’ strengths and weaknesses, instructors can tailor their teaching strategies to optimize learning outcomes. Adopting a workshop-style format encourages hands-on learning and peer collaboration. Interactive workshops allow students to actively participate in discussions, share their insights, and learn from their peers’ experiences.

Injecting humor into lessons can lighten the mood and create a positive learning atmosphere. A well-timed joke or humorous anecdote can capture students’ attention and make complex topics more digestible. However, it is essential to strike a balance and ensure that humor complements the learning objectives without detracting from the educational content.

In conclusion, effective tourism and hospitality education requires a combination of student-centered approaches, industry relevance, and innovative teaching strategies. By catering to student preferences, incorporating role-playing and case studies, and employing diverse teaching methodologies, instructors can empower students to thrive in the dynamic and competitive landscape of the tourism and hospitality industry.

References:

[1] Kanwal H., Sial, S.A. & Kanwal S.. (2021). Perception of University Teachers and Students Regarding the Use and Effectiveness of Audio-Visual Aids in their Daily Classroom Teaching. Pakistan Social Sciences Review.  October-December 2021, Vol. 5, No. 4 [726-736]. https://pssr.org.pk/issues/v5/4/perception-of-university-teachers-and-students-regarding-the-use-and-effectiveness-of-audio-visual-aids-in-their-daily-classroom-teaching.pdf

[2] Kuvondikovna, K. S., & Hakima, B. (2023). Designing Visual Aid. European Journal of Higher Education and Academic Advancement1(2), 165–167. https://doi.org/10.61796/ejheaa.v1i2.131

[3] Chan. Z.C.Y (2012). Role-playing in the problem-based learning class. Nurse Education in Practice 12, 21-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nepr.2011.04.008

[4]  Teaching and learning with games. (2024). NSW government. https://www.nsw.gov.au/education-and-training/digital-citizenship/teaching-and-learning/learning-with-games