Outcomes-Based Approach

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Going Beyond Outcomes-based Education: A Critical Analysis from Theoretical Perspectives

Purpose The adoption of outcomes-based education (OBE) (Spady, 1994) has become a global trend to enhance teaching and learning (Ross & Davies, 1999; Killen, 2000; Botha, 2002), however, recent research has showed OBE has limited potential for enhancing learning in developing countries such as South Africa because of its historical and situational constraints (Todd & Mason, 2005). In other words, the myth that Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning (OBTL) is a panacea for all pedagogical issues has not yet been identified. This paper aims to examine OBTL in terms of its theoretical adequacy. Design/methodology/approach Different to prior researches on examining the constraints of OBTL implementation from the historical and situational perspectives, the study reported here takes reference to the approach applied in previous researches on assessing the effectiveness of OBTL according to the philosophies ground in it. We examine whether OBTL is theoretically plausible and adequate for courses offered by sub-degree sectors. Specifically, we examine the English Language teaching (ELT) courses offered by sub-degree sectors. Findings The findings show OBTL are theoretically plausible in ELT courses that students’ performance in tasks are considered as evidence of learning outcomes but implausible to English literature courses because of the subject nature. Originality/value It is argued that there is a necessity to design ELT courses by going beyond the OBE philosophies. There is a necessity for educational practitioners to retain a balanced view of what OBA does and does not. In a micro level, we suggest frontline teachers adopt various teaching strategies along with OBTL according to students’ feedback to outcomes-based English courses. Keywords: Outcomes-based Education, Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning, Subdegree sector, Principles, English Language Teaching courses

Outcomes-based education (OBE) (Spady,1994) is linked to similar educational initiatives such as Mastery learning (Block,1971), behavioral objectives (Mager, 1984) and 1

competency-based approaches to curriculum and assessment (Argüelles and Gonczi, 2000). All of them share the commonalities on the importance of students’ performance and describe learning in terms of expected learning outcomes. With this underlying assumption, outcomes-based teaching and learning (OBTL) corresponds closely to outcomes-based education (OBE). By definition, OBTL refers to a student-centred pedagogical approach of curriculum-design that starts with clearly stated learning outcomes in the form of a statement of what a learner is presumed to be able to do and at what standard (Biggs & Tang, 2007). Biggs(2007) further suggests ‘Constructive Alignment’ (CA). It emphasizes the alignment of course/subject intended learning outcomes (ILOs), teaching and learning assessments (TLAs) as well as relevant assessment tasks (ATs). ATs are normally in the form of rubrics Under CA framework, it further provides practitioners with a focus for reflective practice in each step during the alignment procedure. To sum, OBTL is an approach aims specifically to enhance student learning. Recent study has even shown OBTL can be applied to meet the educational needs of diverse educational settings (Pang & et el., 2007). Many countries such as Australia (Killen, 2000), the United Kingdom (Ross & Davies, 1999), the USA (Manno, 1995, Harden, Crosby & Davis, 1999) and South Africa (Botha, 2002) has adopted OBTL as a reform approach with an emphasis on teaching and learning enhancement in school sectors. In particular, OBTL has been reported success in tertiary education sectors as it provides them with a basis for accreditation and quality assurance purposes. In addition, curricula across institutions can be inspected, compared and benchmarked by well-defined set of learning outcomes (Ewell,...
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