Title: Fostering A Culture of Learning in the Hospitality Industry Jeries Khouri Academic Supervisor: George Matthews Rise University Introduction Creating a learning environment within the hospitality industry demands a variety of different focuses in order for the hospitality industry to keep up with today's global, changing world…
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In order for this to occur, however, one must know what the cultural differences are. Knowing cultural differences will assist the instructor to know why certain students behave differently from other students, and why certain cultures have different customs and ways of learning then do others. Another major focus that hospitality instruction should focus upon is using technology to assist in learning environments. On-line learning is, or should be, an important part of the learning culture. Other important aspects should include blogging, virtual learning and podcasting. Developing a culture of learning, therefore, must not only take into account different learning styles, but also different cultures, and must use different approaches to keep up with today's changing world. 1.1 Learning Styles Developing a culture of learning requires one to be sensitive to the fact that students have different styles of learning, and be able to adapt to this. Dale & McCarthy(2006) explain that the approaches to learning, with regards to the hospitality students they study, are activist, instrumentalist, autonomous and perplexed. The activist students are actively engaged in learning, and prefer a hands-on approach to their studies and wish to engage in practical and vocational experiences. As for lecturers, activist learners want an instructor that they can communicate with and relate to, as want their methods of assessment to be interactive, such as making presentations. The instrumentalist is the learner who is competitive, and their motivation for learning is getting the best grade. To this end, they are strategic. Their enthusiasm for learning is secondary to the desire to succeed and reach the external goal of getting a good grade. The autonomous learner is one who wants to learn on one's own, with minimal instruction or interaction with peers. The perplexed learner is the fourth kind of learner, and the perplexed learner is one who is confused about what needs to be done to get a good grade. These learners need extra support and guidance (Dale & McCarthy, 2006, p. 51). Lashley (1999) states that the field of hospitality naturally attracts activist learners, as the students of hospitality tend to enjoy hands-on, concrete ways of learning and have lower preferences for theories and abstraction. To this end, he recommends an integrated approach, wherein the students learn theory and apply theory to concrete situations. The blocks that Lashley recommends include a block where students reflect on their own experiences in their work placement, exploring issues and reflecting and analyzing experiences. The next block is one where the students study and report on the service quality of major high street hospitality retail brands, acting as mystery diners and reporting, using the concepts and theories learned by instruction. The third block, Block C, provides an integrating context for the themes, concepts and theories learned. The assessment is based upon a hospitality hotel services context, “which provides both the setting for developing knowledge and understanding, and the scenario for a suite of assignments including the final examination” (Lashley, 1999, p. 180). Barron and Arcodia (2002) concur that the vast majority of hospitality students are activist, as they enjoy the hands-on approach. That said, they found that the
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