Education

Take a student-centric approach

hotel services set icons vector illustration design

hotel services set icons vector illustration design  

More than 85% of hospitality professionals say that they joined the industry by accident. If a professional in this field, who graduated two years ago, was asked to name the subjects taught during the three years of a hotel management degree, most would give only the four core subjects.

This is because the curriculum has not been revised in decades. While essential life skills are taught, the changing trends in the industry have been ignored, leading to a gap between academics and the workplace.

Older methodology

While teaching basic concepts and fundamentals, not only does the existing curriculum fail to capture how these are applicable in the real world but also does not kindle curiosity in the students.

The teaching methodology has primarily been the conventional classroom lecture type; a typical notes delivery session, interspersed with a few assignments, projects and role plays, without a constructive framework for grading or feedback.

Technological advances in the field have not been taken into account leading to a digital divide between the educators and the industry. With a few exceptions, the teaching methodology in most hospitality education institutions is a one-way interaction flowing from the teacher to the student.

Impact of the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the hospitality sector the most and it will take a couple of years for a recovery. With social distancing being the priority, the industry has been pushed to adopt technology in ways that it did not think about earlier. This time also offers an opportunity to pause, reflect and rethink strategies.

Being a highly skill-based course, there was an initial resistance to online learning. However some institutions have spearheaded a blended learning course, with theoretical courses delivered through online sessions and practical work to be conducted offline or in the campus at a later point.

This new learning environment has also triggered a need to redesign the curriculum. What parts can be taught online and how? What inclusions can add more value in the post-COVID world? From a teacher-centric approach, the focus now shifts to a more student-centred way. Videos and presentations are the new books and micro-learning in repetitive formats is a better way to retain knowledge. A student-centred approach also means a thrust towards graded projects, assignments built into the curriculum and testing how the learner applies the learnt concepts to real-world situations.

The goal is to empower the learner to take responsibility and manage his/her experience and free the instructor to focus on crafting a truly engaged learning experience.

Hurdles

However, the question arises whether institutions see this is a quick-fix solution to the pandemic or as a long-term change. While the former is possible, what is required is an open mindset that will allow this new format to be used to optimum advantage and bring in a truly global hospitality education.

The writer is Founder, Encovate

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2020 10:22:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/take-a-student-centric-approach/article32587723.ece

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