Adoption of e-learning technologies provides a definite competitive advantages for businesses today in all the leading industries of the world. This is especially true for the hospitality and tourism industry which relies upon people to provide services and thus has a constant need for training. But keeping in mind the turbulent economic times, the industry also needs to cut down budgets. So the only effective way to implement impactful learning is to reduce costs and increase the quality of training. Facing realities, we have to consider the fact that Tourism &Hospitality experiences the highest levels of skill shortages and staff turnover. By investing on developing skills and knowledge of employees, companies enhance the quality of their products and services, as well as customer satisfaction.
It is now clear that implementing e-learning technology offers learning at lower costs compared to the traditional training methods with the additional promise of higher productivity. While there are many ways of creating and delivering e-learning, it is also evident that every industry has its own set of requirements and thustechnology-aided solutions are being especially designed for the hospitality industry.
Our experiences in the industry have been diverse and industry-specific learning solutions are needed to address specific needs. We illustrate with an example:
We designed a learning program for tourist operators, spread across a geographyand equippedthem to cater to inbound tourists. For our client, it was important that the training is imparted to all in a uniform fashion and available to the learners as per their need. Keeping the audience profile and its unique needs in mind, a technology-enabled learning solution was created toprovide a unique learning experience and help learners excel in their area of work.
1. Mobile Strategy: Weunderstood that learners have active work lives and are frequently on the move. Thus it was important that the e-courses were available online and are made accessible through multiple devices – anytime and anywhere, as per the convenience of the learner. To increase accessibility and make the program platform-independent, we developed the courses with HTML5. This ensured that the courses can be accessed from any device that the learners choose – desktop, laptop or mobile device. The courses were web-based and compatible all popularoperating systems.
2. Viewing Experience: Also, it was important to remember that the learners might need to view the courses on devices with smaller screens and lesser resolution – like smartphones and tablets. It was therefore necessary to ensure ease of use on varying screen sizes and without the resolution adversely affecting the content display. To address this concern, we utilized Responsive Web Design (RWD) while creating the e-courses. RWD ensures that the course automatically resizes itself and adjusts to the capabilities of the viewing device. The user does not have to scroll unnecessarily, or zoom in/zoom out, or do anything else to make viewing less cumbersome on devices with smaller screens. The fluid design provides uniform user experience by moulding the content automatically as per screen size and resolution. User experience was thus uniform, making learning fruitful and enjoyable.
3. InnovativeCourseDesign: The courses itself were built with easy navigation and ease-of-use as high priorities. On-screen text was kept to the minimum, and advanced functionalities werebuilt in to highlight images and graphics. Learners could click on individual images to view information about a specific topics, and then click the 'Return' link to come back to the landing page. This kept the user interface uncluttered and optimal for viewing across multiple devices – especially the ones with a smaller viewing screen. For further viewing ease, 'flip cards' are developed within the course. The viewer is not taken to a different page for smaller descriptions but can just click on relevant images and read short descriptions on the cards. These cards successfully decrease on-screen text and make the user experience hassle-free.
4. Multimedia Component: Videos were a prominent feature of the program as video renders well on the mobile platform. We included a number of video snippets to make the courses interesting. As per the users' choice, videos can be viewed within the window as well as on the full screen. The size and resolution remains uniform across all devices. Audio also playsan important role in the course and makes it fit for a strong mobile delivery. Even when reading is not an option, learner had the choice to listen to the course and learn. But learner also has the choice to turn off the audio, if it suited him or her.
The main business need for the learning program was to enhance the reach and accessibility of the learning material and with strategic development, we were able help our clients achieve it. Through the option of mobile delivery, the program was successful in reaching out to tourism operators located across wide spread of the country – even in the remotest of locations. Tourism industry is spread far and wide, and it is always a challenge to congregate tour operators for any kind of training. In the face of this challenge, mobile-enabled learning program exhibited a radical way of reaching out to such a diverse and widespread target audience. Not only did it reach out to the audience, it also successfully provided a learning experience which suited the needs of the learners.
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