One of the most innovative trends in Hospitality education is digitalization. Digitalization is connecting people, cities, countries and fields of knowledge in new ways — transforming the educational system, among everything else. At Les Roches, we have created a Master’s in Hospitality Strategy in Digital Transformation, an 18-month program fully dedicated to preparing future hoteliers and hospitality service providers to lead the digitalization of hospitality. This master is a direct response to the industry’s needs to prepare future leaders for the challenges they will face in today’s digitally connected world. Successful completion of this program will provide students with the required skills and knowledge to face the digital transformation in the hospitality industry where new operators are shaking up the market. Indeed, the world is becoming a place where we can rapidly learn any subjects and schools must evolve to embrace new learning styles and technologies that can captivate students. This is at the core of our change and digital transformation efforts in education.
E-learning is one of the trends that has emerged as a new way to education and personal growth since the computer revolution in the 20th century. With the outbreak of COVID-19 causing many educational institutions worldwide to close temporarily, we have been relying on distance learning this year more than we ever. Digital textbooks accessible 24/7, content accessible via online platforms, video conferences, and online assessments are among the solutions implemented to cope with the current situation.
Having closed temporary all our 3 campuses, we had to create quality content for our online learning to ensure our students can continue their academic programs despite the situation with the same level of excellence. Since MidMarch, Les Roches, has been able to record over 4000 videos of academic content, with 100 new available each day, for students to access via Moodle, our Learning Management System. To keep a very tailor-made and personalized approach, online Q&A sessions for small groups exchanges have also been implemented several times a day to ensure students from all different time zone can participate. As we believe keeping classes interactive and participatory is essential to keep students engaged, we have also created virtual classes where the educator can share his screen and interact with students while sharing additional content. Video classes are shared either live and not live to help with time zone and avoid unplanned technical issues.
This method of teaching and learning which provides a high level of flexibility, requires a high level of autonomy and responsibility from students. Indeed, even if our institution provides them with full support to help them get the best learning, it is up to the students to make use of what is made available to them.
“Digitalization is connecting people, cities, countries and fields of knowledge in new ways - transforming the educational system, among everything else”
Another innovative trend is Artificial Intelligence which is the biggest transformer in education. According to Statista (2020), AI will undergo a massive growth in market value, going from 22.59 billion USD this year to 118.6 billion in 2025. This technology will not only make learning effective for students, but also help teachers perform their duties efficiently.
The use of AI provides teachers with the ability to analyze the performance of students in order to provide them with a tailored academic program in terms of content, pace and level of mastery. Today, the education industry is adopting AI through AI conversational interfaces such as chatbots, messaging platforms, and virtual assistants. Conversational User Interfaces (CUIs) have been growing in the past two years with consumer products such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The use of AI and CUIs will save time for administrators and educators in addition to increasing student satisfaction as those interfaces are available 24/7.
This technology can also be used in assessments for instance. At Les Roches, many of our courses have continuous assessments throughout the semester. For written exams, we have also implemented a system which allow us to verify the identity of the students taking the exam and ensure the integrity of the exam. Among others, Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that has the potential to transform education massively in the future. Many tech-savvy companies such as Samsung and Google have already started investing massively in VR projects. Virtual reality has proven itself as an impressive learning tool that can make teaching fun and engaging. Instead of teaching students the history of ancient Rome from a textbook, they can just put on the VR headset and experience Rome for themselves.
At the brain and behavior laboratory of the University of Geneva, researchers have the possibility to use an immersive virtual reality system to investigate complex behaviors in realistic scenes. The system is able to manipulate visual, auditory, and olfactory sensations while tracking the eyes, head, and body movements of the participant. Controlled by researchers, this tool can give a user a full immersion to a virtual world.
Les Roches is continuously implementing new technology in its educational system: an augmented Reality wall is on campus, 3D printers available for students among other equipment. Additionally, we are currently experimenting the use of virtual reality in virtual campus visits as an alternative to Open Days to create an immersive experience for students and families willing to visit the campus.
Digitalization has been foreseen as a trend shaping the education but now it has become a necessity with the COVID-19 crisis being a catalyzer of the digital transformation in the education world. To provide our students with the best tailormade experience, we make sure to embrace the best of both, the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds.
Dr. Christine Demen Meier, Managing Director
Dr. Christine Demen Meier brings over 20 years of entrepreneurship experience in hospitality, including the creation, implementation and management of new hotel and restaurant concepts. As Managing Director, Dr Demen Meier is based in Les Roches Switzerland and oversees the branch campuses in Spain and China.