Experiential Learning – The foundation of professional success in the hospitality industry

on September 3 | in | | with No Comments

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In ancient Greece, Plato maintained that he who has virtue has knowledge. The philosopher encouraged young people to seek out the basic virtues of wisdom, courage, justice and temperance to become good leaders. He had the conviction that young people should learn these virtues through direct experience. By putting them into situations that demand virtue, they would in turn learn what it is to be virtuous. 

Nowadays, there are more university graduates than ever before. But unfortunately academic qualifications alone do not constitute a guarantee that they will be trained to successfully fulfill the professional requirements of a demanding labor market.

The curriculum in many regions around the world does not always cater to the reality of employment needs and as a result internationalization is playing an increasing role in meeting the demand for professionals with proven experience beyond the classroom.

At the beginning of the 20th century philosophers like John Dewey were leading voices in educational reform. His theories are the foundation of experiential training:

• Let the students be part of the training process.
• Train by experience in and out of the classroom – not only learning from lecturers.
• Training should be relevant to the student’s professional objectives.

Compared to the monotonous memorization of information – learning by doing, thinking, evaluating and understanding makes knowledge far easier to apply in real world situations. This has been confirmed through educational studies conducted by groups like the National Training Laboratories in the US. They found that audio-visual learning makes up only 20% retention, while demonstrations and discussion can increase this to as much as 50%. But the most effective methods involve all of these in addition to interactivity and practical training, which results in 75% retention.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary for educational models to utilize all of these methods to provide training that is proactive and where teachers serve as guides more than mere conveyers of information.

We live in a fast paced environment and time is always of the essence. In order to help young people be the perfect fit for a job position, we need to change the current educational methods and focus our efforts on preparing them for their future as professionals in an industry that demands more and more each day. At Les Roches Marbella we already provide this education and our success is measured by more than 85% of our graduates who are today working in managerial positions within the hospitality industry. Meanwhile, we remain committed to adapting our educational model to the needs of the hospitality industry. In this way when our students graduate, they are already prepared to enter the workforce as experienced professionals.

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