Author: Yang, Huijun
Title: The effects of experiential learning, motivation to learn and employability skills on learning satisfaction of hotel entry level employees in the Chinese mainland
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2012
Subject: Experiential learning.
Motivation in education.
Hotel management -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: x, 200 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: Hospitality higher education in a traditional sense seems to focus more on disseminating knowledge and conducting research. In most cases, undergraduate students do not always understand well how to apply theoretical knowledge learnt from classrooms and what skills they should obtain upon graduation. This situation is particularly prevalent in the Chinese Mainland. This study aims to examine how experiential learning (EL) activities and motivation to learn influence hotel entry employees/graduates' employability skills and assess the resulted learning satisfaction. The theoretical framework emphasises the simultaneous structural relations among the constructs under study, namely Experiential Learning, Motivation to Learn, Employability Skills and Graduates' Learning Satisfaction. Based on comprehensive literature review, seven hypotheses deriving from the theoretical framework are formulated. This study has adopted both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Based on in-depth interviews, a three-dimensional measurement of EL has been developed by following the scale development process. Then, a pilot test and a main survey were conducted based on convenience sampling method. In the main survey, data was collected from eight cities located in five regions in China and a total of 450 valid questionnaires were tested within the proposed structural model by using AMOS. This study targeted solely the hotel employees who just graduated from their universities or colleges in HTM programmes within three years since they may recall what they learnt at school and reflect what they need in real work. The findings have shown that the overall measurement model fits the data fairly well. The results indicate that both EL and Motivation to Learn have positive, direct effects on employability sills and learning satisfaction. Employability Skills are also found to mediate the relationship between EL and Graduates' Learning Satisfaction and that between Motivation to Learn and Graduates' Learning Satisfaction. Thus, the findings support all the seven hypothesised causal relationships.
This study has a significant contribution to theoretical building as well as practical implications. First of all, this study possesses substantial research value in terms of its exploratory study of EL activities in the hospitality education by developing a three-dimensional measurement scale for EL activities. The study contributes to the existing literature by developing measurements of EL, which has laid the ground for future study. Secondly, studying the two determinants (EL and Motivation to Learn) has enhanced the understanding of the institutional and individual factors which affect employability skills and learning satisfaction. By investigating the mediating effect of employability skills, this study has definitely contributed to and complemented the hospitality higher education research in general. Finally, this study contributes to the literature by examining graduates' learning satisfaction from hotel entry level employees' perspective in China. The practical implications can be of major use to hotel undergraduates, educators and employers in the Chinese Mainland. From graduates' perspective, EL activities provide valuable real world work experience and enhance their employability skills. From educators' perspective, EL can help to prepare qualified students, improve students' learning satisfaction and partner better with hotels. From employers' perspective, EL can be a valuable tool when recruiting quality graduates. The meditating effect of employability skills is found to strengthen the relationships among graduates, educators and employers. In addition, a greater understanding of the determinants of graduates' employability skills contributes to graduates' career development, universities' curriculum validation and hotels' service quality.
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