Factors Affecting Students' Learning and Satisfaction on Tourism and Hospitality Course-Related Field Trips

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Erciyes University]On: 20 December 2014, At: 05:52Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Journal of Hospitality & Tourism EducationPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/uhat20

    Factors Affecting Students' Learning and Satisfaction onTourism and Hospitality Course-Related Field TripsAlan Wong a & Chak-Keung Simon Wong aa School of Hotel & Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityPublished online: 24 May 2013.

    To cite this article: Alan Wong & Chak-Keung Simon Wong (2009) Factors Affecting Students' Learning and Satisfactionon Tourism and Hospitality Course-Related Field Trips, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 21:1, 25-35, DOI:10.1080/10963758.2009.10696934

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  • 25Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education

    factors affecting students learning and satisfaction on tourism and Hospitality Course-related field tripsBy Alan Wong and Chak-Keung (Simon) Wong

    introductionTourism and Hospitality course-related field trips are a form of

    educational tourism (Ritchie, 2003). In addition, field trips are a form

    of learning beyond the classroom (Do, 2006). The various benefits of

    educational tourism and field trips have been described by tourism

    academics and educators (Bauer, 2003; Ritchie, 2003; Stainfield, 2000;

    Weiler, & Kalinowsk; 1990); for example, in tourism studies, it is difficult

    to simulate an environmental setting or to experiment in laboratories

    like the physical sciences. Tourism and Hospitality course-related field

    trips can provide students with authentic learning experiences in dif-

    ferent tourism and hospitality settings, and with opportunities to gain

    first-hand experience of hospitality and tourism at work to compli-

    ment the theories that have been learnt in the classroom. However,

    the factors affecting students learning on field trips or educational

    tours are unclear; for example, the impact of the different activities

    on students learning before, during, and after the field trips. Also, the

    different roles of the teacher and the tour guide may have an impact

    on students learning experiences during the field trip. Despite the

    growing need for field trips, as they are required by more and more

    subjects, there has been very limited formal study and systematic

    review from which to develop guidelines for better organized trips,

    or to evaluate the effectiveness of the learning and teaching using

    this method. Xie (2004: 101) argues that, Despite the recent increase

    in research on experiential learning for the field of tourism studies,

    questions remain about which aspects of experiential learning best

    contribute to tourism courses and how students perceive the ef-

    fectiveness of field trips. The objective of this paper is to report the

    results of a project studying the factors affecting students learning

    and satisfaction on Tourism and Hospitality course-related field trips.

    The findings of this paper make a contribution to the literature seeking to

    provide a greater understanding of how to better organize field trips or

    educational tours that enhance students learning and satisfaction.

    literature review

    The roles of the educator/teacher in a field trip

    The educator/teacher plays a very important role in enhancing

    the learning experiences of students on a field trip. He or she has to be

    actively involved in the different phases of organizing the field trip and

    also has to perform different roles and functions. In the pre-departure

    phase, the educator/teacher needs to carry out careful planning and

    preparation; this might include the matching of the subjects syllabus,

    learning objectives, and outcomes with all of the activities on the

    field trip (Port, 1997). Shortly before the trip, it might be valuable to

    invite a guest speaker to brief and to familiarize the students with the

    destination and to remind them of the trips objectives and their re-

    sponsibilities (Ap, 2005). Alternatively, an intensive research workshop

    might be necessary for postgraduate and honors students (Do, 2006).

    During the on-site phase, the educator/teachers role can be viewed as

    a three stages process: preview, coordinate and review (Port, 1997:

    197): he or she needs to brief the students on the agenda for the day,

    to coordinate all of the visits, and to review the theories and the con-

    cepts which relate to the students experiential learning activities. In

    addition, the educator/teacher should encourage students to keep a

    journal or record of their observations and keep students focused on

    their objectives and tasks (Ap, 2005). Finally, in the post-trip phase, the

    educator/teachers key role is as a facilitator, helping students to inte-

    grate and to reinforce their learning experiences. It is also important

    for the educator/teacher to provide feedback to the students on their

    performance, such as their presentations and assignments.

    Tour activities and experiential learning

    The tours activities are the core elements in a course-related

    field trip. In Kolbs (1984) Experiential Learning Cycle, there are four

    stages: 1) Concrete Experience: this is the first stage where experiential

    activities are developed for personal and group challenges; 2) Reflec-

    tive Observation: in this stage, the teacher plays an important role in

    encouraging individual students to reflect, describe, communicate,

    and learn from their experiences; 3) Linking Concepts to Theories: the

    participants not only use their experiences but also try to use theories

    to draw conclusions from past and present experiences; and 4) Experi-

    mentation and Application: finally, students need to apply their new

    learning to previous experiences. Although Kolbs model is controver-

    sial (Greenaway, 2008), it is clear that the first step to enhancing the

    achievement of targeted learning outcomes is to organize meaningful

    learning activities for a field trip.

    Bauer (2003) organized different tourism course-related field

    trips to Vanuatu and Bali. In these field trips, he took students on

    inspections of local hotels and invited local industry speakers, such

    as executive managers of hotels and transport companies, to talk

    to the students. Students also had opportunities to exchange ideas

    with students from local tourism and hospitality training institutions.

    Bauer argued that students not only had the opportunity to enjoy the

    beauty of the local scenes, but were also exposed to the various nega-

    tive impacts of tourism, such as environmental degradation, polluted

    Dr. Alan Wong is a Lecturer and Dr. Chak-Keung (Simon) Wong is Assistant Professor, both in the School of Hotel & Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

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  • 26 Volume 21, Number 1

    beaches, and unsafe marine transport practices. In the case of a visit to

    a custom village on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, the author stressed

    that, There students came face to face with a group of semi-naked

    locals who performed dances for them and who sold them souvenirs

    clearly an experience that could not be simulated in the classroom

    (Bauer 2003: 210).

    Ap (2006) regularly takes his Tourism Planning students on field

    trips and visits to theme parks as well as different tourist attractions.

    During site visits, he advises his students to take on the role of an

    industry consultant; in this way, they can consider a wide range of

    issues which will enhance their learning. these issues include plan-

    ning and design principles, the guest perspective and experience,

    human resources management issues, maintenance and safety issues,

    and industry trends (Ap 2006: 2). Xie (2004), when taking a group of

    tourism students to the Niagara Falls region, found that field trip ac-

    tivities involving the application of higher level knowledge eventually

    produced positive learning outcomes. In addition, he observed that,

    in order to use a field trip as an effective instrument for experiential

    learning, the teacher has to pay attention to the group dynamics; this

    would also create teamwork opportunities for the participants.

    Tour arrangements, the tour operators, and tour guides

    Robin (2000) reported that the efforts of the tour operators and

    the teachers in organizing visits related to the curriculum of the sub-

    ject/course are important for the learning experiences of students. In

    fact, other arrangements, besides organizing learning activities, are

    also important in a tourism/hospitality course-related field trip. The

    students are also experiencing the tour as visitors or tourists, there-

    fore the success of the field trip has all the same success factors as an

    ordinary tour. Chan and Bauer (2004) identified the different impacts

    that the tour guides and tour arrangements have on tour satisfaction.

    Proper arrangements for accommodation, food, and transportation

    can affect the satisfaction of students (tour members) on any field trip.

    However, entertainment activities should not be neglected on tour-

    ism/hospitality field trips. Even during the days of Thomas Cook, his

    goal for his tours was to make travel pleasurable and appealing by

    combing education and instruction with pleasure, fun, and rest (New-

    meyer, 2008: 7). Do (2004) suggested that the learning atmosphere

    should be relaxed and informal; in this way, the teacher could build a

    rapport with the students. The teacher should also make use of break

    times to interact with students. In addition, Ap (2006) always encour-

    ages students to enjoy the experience and he shared his successful

    experiences of taking field trips by often having a meal with students

    during the trip; this could be fun for the students and allows plenty of

    time for informal discussions. One point to be noted is that free time

    for the students is important during any field trip, as it encourages

    them to learn about the local culture (Porth, 1997).

    Tour guides may have different roles to play in a tour such as

    peacemaker, leader, nanny, salesperson, animator and teacher (Wong

    & Hanefors, 2007). During an educational tour or field trip, a tour guide

    is naturally expected to play the role of teacher, in the sense that he

    or she is a source of information on the locality and can provide inter-

    pretations of the local culture. The effectiveness of the tour guide is an

    important factor in educational tourism, particularly in the ecotourism

    sector (Moscardo, 1996; Ritchie, 2003).

    Pearl River Delta Field TripA total of 19 students enrolled in the Tourism in Hong Kong and Pearl River Delta (PRD) course participated in a three-day field trip to the PRD region in China in March 2008. The key objective of this trip was to enhance students understanding of the different aspects of development in the region. Students were required to complete a group project with three main tasks: (1) discuss the strengths and weak-nesses of the itinerary for the field trip and provide suggestions on how to improve it; (2) design one itinerary for a targeted group which combined Hong Kong, Macau, and the PRD, and provide a rationale for their choice and design; and (3) identify any aspects that both government and the private sector need to improve or take action on, in order to make this happen and to enhance the quality of such products. The design of the route and the coordination of visits were actually very time-consuming and challenging. The PRD Economic Zone comprises nine municipalities of Guangdong Province in Southern China. It was hoped that the field trip could provide students with some actual experience of seeing the tourism infrastructure, facilities, attractions, and products of the region. The triangular round trip started from Hong Kong and finished in Shenzhen. First, we visited a newly opened five-star hotel and a theme park that was attached to it. The students were surprised by the facilities and by the beautiful setting of this hotel, located not too far from Hong Kong (the Interlaken Hotel and the theme park of East Overseas Chinese Town is a re-creation of the Swiss town of Interlaken, www.interlakenocthotel.com). They learned a lot and enjoyed this visit through the briefing given by the hotel general manager and his team, the guided visit around the hotel and the theme park, and the free lunch provided to them. In Guangzhou, we visited a cultural heritage site and went on a short walking tour of the city. The students enjoyed the visit to the local night market and the free time they were given for shopping and eating there. On the way from Guangzhou to a spa resort, we visited a theme park/ farm attraction. We then had a discussion on the coach about this visit: the students thought that the design, service, and management needed to be improved. The spa hotel provided the students with an experience of the rich natural resources of this region. In addition, they enjoyed the guided tour: they had never experienced the different styles of Chinese herbal treatments offered by spas before. The final destination of this trip was a visit to the tourism department of a university in Zhuhai. It was planned as a form...

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