Learning Lab@PP2 is a pedagogical tool that has been applied in a degree course in tourism at the Polytechnic Institute of Beja, specifically in classes of Professional Practice II. It advocates that the learning process should occur in the complex context of society, organizations and professional relations that characterize the tourism industry. The goal is to contribute to the development of professional skills in tourism and educate students as citizens who must be aware of their role in today's increasingly global world. Within Learning Lab methodology, this paper aims to share the benefits of using practical methods in tourism education environments, in this case based on two participatory exercises: (a) visual-based methodologies (photovoice); and (b) participant and non-participant observation as a method of analysing situations. The results from using this methodology will be also presented in addition to a discussion about the educational benefits framed by the experiential learning paradigm.


Experiential Learning, Learning Labs, Participant-Observation, Photovoice, Professional Practice, Tourism Degree, Visual Methods

Author Bio(s)

Ana Isabel Rodrigues has been a professor of tourism at the Polytechnic Institute of Beja (Portugal) since 1997. Her academic background has focused on two main areas: tourism and communication. She has an MSc in communication & tourism from ISCTE/Lisbon University Institute and a PhD in tourism from Algarve University, Portugal. Her main research interests focus on communication and image, qualitative methods, visual-based methods, tourism education methodologies, experiential-based learning and CAQDAS. She has papers and book chapters published in tourism and qualitative research with referee and is a reviewer for several journals and member of the scientific committee of international conferences. Please direct correspondence to ana.rodrigues@ipbeja.pt.

Marta Amaral received her PhD in tourism from the University of Évora in 2013. She has been a professor in the Polytechnic Institute of Beja – Portugal since 1998 and currently is the coordinator of the bachelor’s in tourism. She has a master’s in sociology (human resources and sustainable development) from the University of Évora and graduated in sociology of work from the University of Lisbon. She is a reviewer for several journals and member of the scientific committee of international conferences and CiTUR research centre. Please direct correspondence to marta.amaral@ipbeja.pt.


The authors would like to thank the group of students from the 2nd year of the tourism degree course (2018-19), who agreed to participate in these exercises. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 4th World Conference on Qualitative Research (WCQR2019) in Oporto, Portugal, October 16th to 18th 2019. https://2019.wcqr.info/world-conference-on-qualitative-research/

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