Virtual learning enables 100% success rate for Northern Regional College Tour Guiding students

We were delighted that the OCN Tour Guiding accredited qualification recently featured on the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry website.

The article which featured, celebrated the fact that students studying for the OCN Tour Guiding accredited qualification at Northern Regional College have been able to complete their studies and achieve a 100% success rate this week thanks to the power of technology. Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the College put in place a series of measures to ensure that the 13 students at its Newtownabbey campus could complete their accreditation via online learning.

Travel and Tourism lecturer Karen McLeod explained: “Through practical and interactive sessions on Zoom, we have been able to ensure that all required learning outcomes are met – including  understanding the role of a Tour Guide, the of planning routes, itineraries and evaluation, and the health and safety considerations of the role.”

Introduced in 2017, the OCN Tour Guiding qualification has been an important aspect of the Level 3 Extended Diploma Travel and Tourism (equivalent to three A-levels) curriculum at the College’s Newtownabbey and Ballymena campuses.

“We strive for vocational excellence in all of our courses at the College and, for our Level 3 Travel and Tourism students, achieving at Tour Guiding qualification is an important aspect of that, greatly enhancing their employability in the tourism industry,” Karen continued.

“This qualification will be especially relevant in the months ahead with people ‘staycationing’ and visiting local tourist attractions, perhaps even for the first time, rather than travelling abroad.”

The Tour Guiding course culminated in a final practical assessment, carried out this week using both Zoom and PowerPoints with voiceovers. Virtual tours delivered by the 13 students included the Giant’s Causeway, Carrickfergus Castle, Belfast City Hall, Mount Stewart, ‘Edinburgh by Night’ and the James Chaine Tour.