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Constructive alignment approach for assessing essential cultural soft skills in the tourism sector through ICT

Caruana, Simon (2019) Constructive alignment approach for assessing essential cultural soft skills in the tourism sector through ICT. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The focus of this study was to investigate whether Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) may assist the acquisition and assessment of essential soft skills in tourism higher education. Intercultural Competence was identified as an essential skill for tourism due to the cultural diversity of visitors and country/region visited. Biggs and Tang’s (2011) notion of Constructive Alignment was used to define the outcomes, the learning activities, and the assessment tasks making up the learning intervention. The interaction of the student participants with a blended learning environment provided the data required. Data was collected in two stages. In the first stage, through a focus group with the students, whereas in the second stage, interviews were used. Other stakeholders, academics, university IT services and employer representatives were interviewed separately to gain their views regarding the implementation of a blended learning environment. The results indicate that both students and academics are insufficiently prepared to work within a blended learning environment, resulting in a rather negative attitude towards it. Academics also referred to the lack of training related to outcomes-based learning and constructive alignment. As a result, learning outcomes are viewed as an administrative control tool, rather than a way to facilitate student learning. This lack of confidence affects not only the participants’ use, but also their trust in the other parties involved, including peers. However, engagement with the blended learning environment improved students’ trust, both in the blended learning environment itself and also in their peers, suggesting the need for a comprehensive training strategy. Stakeholders must also be provided with the opportunities to network and exchange information. A framework that establishes confidence and improve trust is required. Intercultural competence may serve this role. It can help identify stakeholders’ attitudes towards one another, increase communication, empathise, and ultimately facilitate constructive interaction between them. Future research may look into applying intercultural competence into blended learning development and staff training in this sense and any other educational initiative where different stakeholders may be involved.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Constructive Alignment, Intercultural Competence, Soft Skills, Blended Learning, ICT, Assessment, Higher Education, Tourism.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Education (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.798046
Depositing User: Simon Caruana
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2020 16:43
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2020 14:10
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25975

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