As part of the first virtual THE-ICE International Panel of Experts (VIPoE), THE-ICE Business Alliance Partner Russell Partnership Technology ran a workshop for members of THE-ICE addressing hospitality simulation programs and how these can be integrated into online teaching and internship programs. Hosted by Operations Director Mr Peter Russell, the workshop examined best practices for utilising simulations and educational technology to teach fully online or in a hybrid manner, including an overview of Russell Partnership Technology programs and the opportunity to ask questions.
About Russell Partnership Technology
Russell Partnership Technology develops licensed software products and delivers training and development programs with the world’s leading hotel and hospitality companies to drive continued professional development. They also work in synergy with global hotel schools by delivering simulation programs that optimise how students learn about the hotel industry, preparing them for entering the industry upon graduation. Working across three global sectors with over 200 national and international clients, Russell Partnership Technology delivers hospitality software solutions including:
- HOTS – the hotel and hospitality management simulation
- REVsim – the hotel management and forecasting simulation
- F&Bsim – the food and beverage management simulation
- ASSETsim – the asset management simulation
- Revenue Management App – the revenue management decision application
- Hospitality Business Acumen – the online course focused on industry understanding
- KP Education – the online learning environment for culinary arts
Mr Peter Russell confirmed that demonstration access for these programs was available to THE-ICE members and that the majority were in English, with some available in up to 6 languages.
Online learning and learning technologies
COVID-19 has had a staggering impact on global education, with more than 1 billion learners around the world impacted by national school closures. There is also a growing demand for online learning separate to the pandemic, with the worldwide e-learning marker projected to be worth $325 billion in 2025 and students in the US reporting better grades as a result of digital learning technology. Learning retention is also markedly increased when learning online, as students can learn at their own pace and reread, skip, or accelerate through concepts as they choose. A blended approach is likely to be most powerful, drawing on the best of both online and face-to-face delivery.
It is a challenge to cater to face-to-face and online students at the same time, and universities face an increasingly competitive landscape given that students have more options if everything is online. Mr Russell shared a number of resources that institutions can utilise to increase engagement and interactivity in online learning:
- Socrative app – review student understanding.
- Kahoot – learning games.
- Mentimeter – create interactive presentations.
- Panopto – creating, managing, and sharing videos, and live stream functionalities.
If internships cannot be postponed or adjusted for students in the current pandemic environment, simulation-based internships can assist in bridging the gap. Although simulations cannot truly replace hands-on experience, there is still a lot that can be done depending on the course and whether the students have previously worked with simulations. The number of hours required to complete the internship program, from 6-10 up to 30+, can be adapted to fit the needs of the institution and/or course curriculum.
Russell Partnership Technology’s new COVID-19 module allows students to practice managing a hotel during the pandemic, stepping into an industry role through the simulation, and even students who have previous experience with simulations will not have done this. The module includes more advanced financial forecasting, and scenarios and exercises such as writing menus, sales strategies and pitches, and other reporting are all heightened for the internship approach with the intention of challenging students in the same ways they would be challenged for an in-person internship. This can be undertaken in conjunction with further elements such as:
- Hospitality Business Acumen program – a four-week program learning the core aspects of business acumen for the hotel and hospitality industry, culminating in an exam.
- Property Management Systems – front office systems for hotels, allowing students to practice operating a front office with a real front office system: entering a manual booking, conducting a check-in, managing guest preferences and group bookings, etc.
- Events Management – virtual tasks and challenges to plan events in full, from conferences to weddings, and including all AV requirements, menu planning, etc.
Effective integration of simulation programs
Seamless curriculum integration is key for effective use of simulations, and Russell Partnership Technology provides resources, student onboarding, and train-the-trainer sessions for those who will deliver the course to assist with this.
Mr Russell noted that the RPT programs are usually credit-bearing when used in curriculum. He suggested that grading not be based on the simulation results, but on students’ reflection on their learning and suggested the following core elements form part of the grading:
- Business plan prepared by students at the start of the process, either written or presented.
- Decision log or journal exploring what decisions were made and why during the simulation.
- Summary reflection after conclusion of the simulation, either written or presented.
The recording of the Russell Partnership Technology workshop: Hospitality Simulation Programs – how to integrate these into online teaching and internship programs can be accessed here.