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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

GCTLT - Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning - Analysis of Learners and Context

  • The Diploma of Travel and Tourism is a one year level 5 course (120 credits, 45 credits at level 5) that sits within the Business and IT areas, due to the current re-shuffle, not a school any more but an entity(now called;College of Enterprise and Development).  This programme has a blended delivery format with an emphasis on self-directed learning, the programme is loaded onto wiki-educator and the students have project based assessments which they predominantly complete in teams. Study takes the form of a mix of projects, face-to-face classes and team work/study, with a strong focus on using the programme wiki as a resource and the course blogs as a communication tool.

  • The minimum entry requirement is a Certificate in Applied Travel and Tourism (Level 3) which we offer as an entry level qualification, this introduces learners to possible employment as travel agents, tour guides or reception/reservation positions within the hospitality/tourism industry. The majority of our students stay on to complete the diploma after finishing the certificate, for those that just want to complete the diploma there is an interview process that they go through.  This is done mainly to outline the workload, ensure they have the minimum qualifications required and gain an over-view of their personality type. 
  • They must have a minimum of four NCEA credits at Level 2 in reading and writing and 8 credits at Level one in mathematics.
  • If English is not their first language, they must also demonstrate English language skills and qualifications. 

  • For the programme to be viable our minimum number of students is twelve and over the last couple of years we have scraped through with this number.  This has had an impact on the amount of papers that have been able to run e.g. Nouveau and adventure tourism were not offered this year due to lack of numbers.

  • The paper I would like to re-design is at level 4 and is called International Destination. The students explore the geographical, climatic, cultural and heritage aspects of a chosen destination and examine the attractions and ancillary services provided for visitors.  The destination is chosen each year and as a team they have to put together a travel magazine, this year it was the UK.  The over-all structure of the paper is great with good assessments, quizzes, guest speakers and resources, but the wiki is undeveloped  and with only one class a week, the students are required to do a lot of self-directed or group planning and they find this difficult to co-ordinate.

  • Analysis of Learners  

Analysis of learners adapted from Hegarty(2013)

What is going to be changed and why

I am going to re-develop the wiki to include a more structured approach to the lessons linking them more closely to the assessments, the group dynamics and the formation of the blogs.  Also add the blogs to the wiki.  See the link for the front page of the wiki also an example of one of the student team blogs.
Link to Destination UK

Link to student blog

I taught the paper for the first time last semester and organised a guest speaker from England Ireland, Scotland and Wales over a 10 week period.  They gave their first hand experiences of growing up in these countries and why they felt tourists would want to visit.  We held discussions in class and each of the assessments were introduced.  The students were split into two groups based loosely on the results of a Myers briggs personality quiz.  They had to meet each week, allocate tasks, collaborate on the content and the design of the magazine and write a brief synopsis of their meeting on the blog.  This process was plagued with absences at meetings, lack of responsibility, work not done and a general in-ability to be self directed.

  • I am going to focus on producing more detailed lesson plans incorporating and linking the guest speaker themes with quizzes and the assessments
  • I am also going to incorporate more team building activities to help each group to bond and work together more closely
  • Have a combination of group and individual assessments, this is based on their feedback regarding them relying on others to gain an overall pass mark

Goals for the design phase

  • Detailed lesson plans linking to the assessments
  • Team building activities
  • Analyse the learning outcomes and see if some of the assessments can be marked individually
The graduate profile that the organisation, the industry and other stakeholders are looking for are students that are self directed, confident, have robust literacy and numeracy skills, can work constructively in team situations and  can actively problem solve.  Paul Smith, Director of the Dunedin Fringe Festival says;
“We love Otago Polytechnic graduates because they’re creative, passionate and willing to do what it takes to create extraordinary events.” Smith (2013).

Kim Komando, (2013).  Humanmetrics.  Retrieved 20 August from;

Otago Polytechnic (2013).  Retrieved 20 August from;


  1. Fabulous analysis of your learners Helen. This meets the requirements for the first formative assessment.

    What a pity that many were unable to take responsibility and engage with the wonderful opportunity that you gave them to work as a team to design the magazine.

    The blog is a good idea for you to give immediate feedback. Will you continue with that approach?

    I wonder should the students who do perform be disadvantaged by those who can't manage their learning? Could you use the Myer Briggs to divide them into teams where performance was more evenly distributed? The let the students who need more direction work within a 'lesson-planned' environment that you suggest?

    You may be interested in these resources about Expert learners - a concept that incorporates self-regulated learning which means a little bit more than self-directed learning.

  2. Hi Bronwyn,
    Thanks for your comments, it was a disappointing outcome from one of the groups and some of the comments I got back were that they would have liked more individual assessment which I am looking at. However I have mostly the same students for Conference and Events and have kept them in one group with a leader, using a similar format of group work. They are performing really well with regular meetings and all working productively together, so maybe it was the group dynamics previously or they have reflected on their previous experiences and have learnt from them! I will investigate further. I like you suggestion of more planned sessions and this will be part of my re-design. I will look at your link too.