Project-Based Learning to Promote Learner Autonomy in Training Hospitality Education
At a Technical and Vocational Education and Training College
Abstract. Project-based learning (PjBL) is a teaching and learning approach that involves students actively working on real-world projects, to develop knowledge and skills. This method has been shown to be effective in promoting learner autonomy (LA) and skills development in language learning studies. There is, however, a dearth of research on the use of PjBL in hospitality education, especially in a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) environment. Using a case study research strategy, this study aimed to investigate whether PjBL could be used to promote autonomy and develop employable skills in students in hospitality education. A convergent mixed methods approach was used to develop a framework for PjBL in promoting LA in a TVET environment. The study included a closed-structured questionnaire with responses from 144 (n=144) students from two hospitality programmes, as well as a semi-structured interview with 18 student participants. The findings indicate that PjBL is an effective teaching and learning approach in hospitality education that can promote LA, lead to a deeper understanding of the subject matter, while facilitating the development of a variety of important skills and competencies. Students can apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways through hands-on, real-world activities, which can foster a greater sense of autonomy and responsibility for their own learning. Moreover, this study emphasises the significance of incorporating PjBL into hospitality education programmes, to prepare students for success in a rapidly changing world.