Unlocking the Potential of Hybrid Learning: Tourism Student Voices in South African Universities of Technology





Covid-19, hybrid learning, student well-being, sustainable university architecture, tourism management


This article examines the impacts the pandemic learning environment had on student learning and wellness, and how rethinking higher education (HE) design could bolster the improved student well-being. In the wake of Covid-19, academia is searching for some “normalcy” which requires a critical review of the suitability of current structures, as policy design struggles with the possibilities of a hybrid approach to pedagogic delivery. The body of knowledge on blended/hybrid learning design requires the student voice, in cold face experiences of pandemic-induced academic evolution, to get closer to discovering a model that benefits both teaching and learning. The unearthing of possible unrealised disruptions to the learning environment, affecting social, personal and cognitive presence. A sequential explanatory study that included the collection of quantitative survey data, and qualitative focus group interviews was conducted. The census enquiry of tourism management students at three universities of technology in South Africa was concluded online, as per remote learning requirements at the height of the pandemic. Study results indicate that remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic impacted negatively on student learning and mental health at universities of technology (UOTs) in South Africa. Student data indicated that even through strict pandemic regulations, the university campus life morphed, and did not die.  Students gravitated towards parts of the campus considered soothing, with proper internet access, arguing for a holistic, sustainable university architecture that bolsters learning and student support. HE institutions need to further consider the role and design of university architecture for hybrid/blended learning, with a user-focused perspective.

Author Biography

Pavla Mokoena, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Dr Mokoena is a lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. Her research and publications are focused on tourism education, community engagement, and tourism development.