Palma, from 23 to 25 October 2013
Celebrating and Enhancing the Tourism
Knowledge-based Platform: A Tribute to Jafar Jafari


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General programme, activity sheet

Thursday 24 October, 2013 12:50 to 13:10 Oral Communication
Values based learning in tourism higher education: the case of EMTM
Speaker: Tanja Mihalic, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Head Institute for Tourism ITEF
Speaker: Janne J. Liburd, University of Southern Denmark
Speaker: Jaume Guia, Universitat de Girona

Authors: Tanja Mihalic, Janne J. Liburd. Jaume Guia


Aims This paper main purpose is to study the importance and performance of experimental values based education and learning in a case study of the joint master programme, the EMTM (European Master in Tourism Management). It is based on the concept of Tourism Educational Future Initiatives (TEFI) that proposes the values of knowledge, stewardship, mutuality, professionalism, and ethics (Sheldon et.al, 2008) to become a part of any tourism education and learning. We examine how enrolled EMTM students assess the importance and usefulness of these values and compare the results from the standpoint of learning (education) and industry practice in general. Methodology This paper is both conceptual and practical in nature. First, it is based on existing knowledge and understanding of TEFI values. Second, it draws on the authors’ involvement with the development and delivery of courses in the EMTM. EMTM is based on a compulsory mobility scheme between the University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the University of Girona (Spain) and is composed of students from around 25 different nationalities. Leaning from the case of the EMTM programme, conceptual implications of values based education will be brought out more fully. An action research methodology has been employed. A key feature of this action research approach is that it involves the investigation being undertaken by the persons directly concerned with the social situation under consideration (McGugan, 2002). Here focus is directed toward students’ different learning styles and the significance of the learning environment. Notable elements are co-creation, critical thinking and collaboration between learners and educators both in face-to-face interaction and in learning environments beyond the classroom. The constructivist, practice perspective is further backed by a view inspired by phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty, 1962) that sees learning practices, attitude and technology in a dialectical relationship informing each other. Further, in order to develop a quantitative research instrument, the TEFI values have been transformed into a model for measuring understandings of values in higher education and tourism industry. The proposed instrument is empirically tested on the group of EMTM students. Key Arguments and Findings The primary rationale for embedding values-based learning in tourism higher education is to engage students in learning-to-learn and learning-to-be, rather than simply learning about a topic, such as tourism management. This elaborates on Barnett’s (1990: 22) observation that “higher education implies more than the mere acquisition of knowledge. It requires a sceptical and questioning attitude towards knowledge”. Developing critical thinking and reflexivity beyond the classroom and disciplinary confines can facilitate active student engagement and transformation of current practices. Learning is therefore not limited to critical reflections on the complexity of tourism in conceptual terms and the curriculum space can be used in many different ways, from lectures to industry projects (Mihalič, 2005; Liburd, 2013). Also, students should also be able to recognize underlying values and opportunities for stewardship, collaboration, and communicative action (Habermas, 1984, 1987), including the implementation of sustainable tourism development in diverse contexts (Liburd & Edwards, 2010). The paper illustrates how EMTM students engage in transnational, intercultural and sociopolitical contexts of learning and tourism higher education through which dynamic and holistic understandings of underlying values were critically and experimentally facilitated. Students were hereby challenged not only to think about the means to current problem solving but to critically reflect upon tourism practices and ends in the context of desirable futures. This urges students to relate to the issues of tourism world making, the kind of tourism to be developed (as valued by industry, and how it should be governed) and what the end objectives behind these activities should be (Liburd, 2010). The findings have implications for the future development and implementation of experimental values into education and learning and their relevance to tourism industry. Bibliography Barnett, R. (1990). The Idea of Higher Education. Buckingham: Open University Press. Habermas, J. (1984). Theory of Communicative Action Vol 1. Reason and the rationalization of society. Cambridge Boston Polity Beacon Press. Habermas, J. (1987). Theory of Communicative Action Vol 2. Lifeworld and system a critique of functionalist reason. Cambridge Boston Polity Beacon Press. Liburd, J.J. & Edwards, D. (eds.) (2010). Understanding the Sustainable Development of Tourism. Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers. Liburd, J.J. (2010) Sustainable Tourism Development In: J.J. Liburd & D. Edwards (eds) Understanding the Sustainable Development of Tourism. Goodfellow Publishers: 1-18. Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962) Phenomenology of perception. Routledge: London and Kegan. Mihalič, T. (2005). Slovenia. In: D. Airey, J. Tribe (eds) An international handbook of tourism education . Amsterdam: Elsevier, 241-255. McGugan, S. (2002) Asynchronous Computer Mediated Conferencing to Support Learning and Teaching: An Action research Approach. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Vol 1(1): 29-42. Sheldon, P., Fesenmaier, D., Woeber, K. Cooper, C, and Antonioli, M. (2008) Tourism Education Futures - 2010-2030 Building the Capacity to Lead. Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism Vol. 7(3), 61 – 68.
Further information:

Submited paper (141 KB)

Session 2 – Learning processes and internationalization
Place: Room SB04

Other activities in Session 2 – Learning processes and internationalization
12:30 h. to 12:50 h.Oral Communication

Experiential learning: What has been learned from the case of ITHAS?

Speaker: Nevenka  Cavlek, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Economics & Business
13:10 h. to 13:50 h.Oral Communication

Flexibility in teaching – challenges for teacher and institutions

Speaker: Knut Scherhag, University of Applied Sciences