Designing Pedagogical Models for Tourism Education: Focus on Work-Based Mobile Learning

Designing Pedagogical Models for Tourism Education: Focus on Work-Based Mobile Learning

Hanna Vuojärvi (University of Lapland, Finland), Miikka Eriksson (University of Lapland, Finland) and Heli Ruokamo (University of Lapland, Finland)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/jmbl.2012070104
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Abstract

The main objective of the TravEd Research project is to develop a pedagogical model that exploits mobile technologies and electronic learning environments and that is applied especially to develop decentralised tourism education in tourist destinations with extremely mobile tourism students. Developmental work on the project will be carried out through design-based research (DBR). The approach to learning arises from the socio-cultural tradition inherent to the activities, culture, context, and environment in which the learning takes place. The focuses of attention are collaborative teaching–studying–learning (TSL) processes during which several types of applications that also enable smartphone use are utilised. This paper presents the theoretical underpinnings of the project and the first cycle of the DBR process that will be carried out during an apprenticeship period aiming to develop a pedagogical model for work-based mobile learning in tourism settings/education.
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Introduction

Tourism is one of the vital areas of business in Eastern Lapland, Finland, and growth in this area has been strong as of late. In order to address the intensifying competition over customers and stand out with something unique to offer, tourism companies have to keep up with the development in the industry and ensure the quality of their services. The availability of skilful and development-oriented staff is an unquestionable prerequisite for this, which also presents a challenge for institutions providing tourism education. The best way for vocational schools to keep up with the rapid pace of development is to proactively address the changing needs of the tourism industry by networking with universities, research institutes, and tourism companies.

The research setting of the study presented in this article is located at the TravEd Pyhä tourism school that operates under the administration of the Vocational College of Eastern Lapland but has been decentralised by physically moving tourism education from the main campus to Pyhä, a ski resort located in Eastern Lapland. Decentralisation also describes the period of apprenticeship, which covers one-third of the two-year degree programme, during which students might be tens or hundreds of kilometres away from the school or even abroad.

The aim of this study is to start the development process of a pedagogical model for meaningful work-based mobile learning (MWBML) in tourism education and to explore the possibilities of mobile technology in work-based learning during the apprenticeship periods that students spend working at tourism companies. The study presented here is part of the TravEd research initiative aiming to develop pedagogical models for decentralised tourism education, a pedagogical model for MWBML being one of them. Developmental work will take place over a three-year period (2010–2012). In practice, research and development is conducted through design-based research (DBR), and this paper presents the first cycle of that process (Table 1).

Table 1.
The first DBR cycle
DesignImplementationAnalysis
1st pilot
November 2010 – January 2011
Designing an initial pedagogical model on the basis of theoretical knowledge and previous pedagogical modelsPiloting the initial model: Online tutoring for tourism students during the apprenticeship period
Collecting data
Analysing data
Assessing the initial pedagogical model in relation to teaching and learning processes realised during the apprenticeship
2nd pilotRefining the pedagogical model on the basis of the results gained during the first pilotPiloting the refined model:
Online tutoring for tourism students equipped with smartphones, during the apprenticeship period
Collecting data
Analysing data
Assessing the refined pedagogical model in relation to teaching and learning processes realised during the apprenticeship

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