Outcome Based Education

Should education be outcome-based? Some might say, it already is but to some extent only. In traditional schools, the teachers are determined to teach the students the particular course and allocate the time in doing so, whether or not the students masters it. For schools to be outcome based, they must recognize an outcome to be achieved by the students and then organize their curriculum accordingly.

Outcome Based Education (OBE) model is widely being used all over the world at the moment.

Why is it so? Did you think about it? Let me tell you. This is because it helps the students in improving their technical education and help them to compete with their global counterparts.

What is OBE?

Outcome-based education is very important for the overall interface between the students and the faculty of an organization or institute. Before delving into objectives and outcomes let us know the importance of outcome-based education with a decent diagram which is self-explanatory.

Source: icym.edu.my

The two most important aspects of outcome-based education are listed as follows:


Just like any other mechanism, OBE (OUTCOME BASED EDUCATION) works on providing the input and expecting the resultant output; here objective being the input and outcome being the output.

To understand objective and outcome on a broader prospect; assume objective as a faculties’ input and outcome as student’s output.


On how we receive the outcome, it can be sub-divided into different categories as follows:

– Knowledge or Aptitude
– Skill 
– Etiquette and attitude towards work

These types of outcomes are very important to reach predetermined career paths. Let us know more in detail about the outcomes received on the students part.

Knowledge or Aptitude- Before gaining the in-depth knowledge or developing an interest in certain stream or field, the best thing to do is righteous guidance towards this. Here’s where the faculty come into play. It is the organizational or institutional (which includes faculties and staff members) duties to inculcate appropriate knowledge to students. It is solely the interest and decision of the faculties on how the teaching is to be done. They are well versed with the power of experience, knowing what to do, and how to do.

Skills- After gaining appropriate knowledge students should be capable enough to implement their learning. They should be skilled in that particular field.

Etiquette and Attitude towards work- Students should have a positive attitude with which they could demonstrate how it could impact their lives for their betterment.

An OBE curriculum starts with a clear picture of what is to be done by the student with respect to what is important to him/her and then organizing the system including assessment and instructions ensuring the learning happens ultimately.

Different definitions are present for outcome-based education. The most widely read is the four principles suggested by Spady (1994).

The four basic principles given by Spady are:

  • Clarity of focus

By the name it itself states that the teachers must be focused on what the students should know, understand and able to do.

  • Designing down

The definition of what is to be done should be designed down so that the student can easily grasp and commit what he has achieved by the end of the program. Once this has been done, all the related decisions are then made ensuring the desired end result to be achieved.

  • High expectations

By this principle, it states that the teachers must set high and challenging standards for the students so that they get encouraged and get engaged deeply in learning.

  • Expanded opportunities

Teachers must attempt to provide expanded opportunities for all students. This principle is based on the belief that not all learners can learn the same stuff in the same way and at the same instant.

Outcome-based methods have been adopted in education systems around the world, at multiple levels.

  1. Australia and South Africa adopted OBE policies in the early 1990s but have since been phased out.
  2. The United States have an OBE program in place since 1994 that has been adapted over the years.
  3. In 2005, Hong Kong adopted an outcome-based approach for its universities.
  4. Malaysia implemented OBE in all of their public schools’ systems in 2008.
  5. The European Union has proposed an education shift to focus on outcomes, across the EU.
  6. In an international effort to accept OBE, The Washington Accord was created in 1989. It is an agreement to accept undergraduate engineering degrees that were obtained using OBE methods.
  7. As of 2014, the signatories are Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

OBE Process

‘Constructive alignment’ is the process we usually follow when we build up an OBE syllabus. This term is coined by Professor John Biggs in 1999, which refers to creating a learning environment that supports the learning activities appropriate for achieving the desired learning outcomes. The word ‘constructive’ refers to what the learner does to create meaning through relevant learning activities. The ‘alignment’ aspect refers to the act of teacher. The key to the alignment are the components in the teaching system, especially the teaching methods used. The assessment tasks are aligned to the learning activities assumed in the intended outcomes.



The focus on outcomes creates a clear expectation of what needs to be accomplished by the end of the course. Students will get to know what is expected of them and teachers will understand what they need to teach during the course. Clarity is essential besides years of schooling and when teaching is accomplished as a team. 
Clarity helps each team member to have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished in each class, or at each level making students progress. The people who are outlining and planning the curriculum are expected to work once the outcome has been decided. They need to determine what knowledge and skills will be required to arrive at the outcome.


Any method can be opted to teach a student. OBE does not restrict the teachers to teach using a specific method. OBE is a student-centered learning model. Teachers are meant to guide and help the students master the material using either approach.


Different institutions are compared on the basis of OBE. At an individual level, the achievement of students can be used to decide what outcome they have reached.
At an institutional level, institutions can be compared, by checking their common outcomes and finding improvement (if required) at any place, based on the outcomes achieved at competitive institutions. The students can also be given credits according to their performance.


Student involvement in the classroom is a key part of OBE. Students are expected to do self-learning so that they attain a full understanding of the material. Increased student involvement allows students to feel responsible for their own learning. Other aspects which help students in involvement are parents and society.

Why do institutions need to follow OBE?

The induction of India in the Washington Accord in 2014 with the permanent signatory status of The National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is recognized as a significant leap forward for the higher-education system in India. It indicates that an Engineering graduate from India can be employed in any other country who have signed the accord. According to the pacts of the accord, for an Indian Engineering Institution to get accredited by the NBA, it is compulsory to follow the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) model.


In the end, I only want to say that the Outcome Based Education is a necessity of the hour and should be implemented in each and every field wherever skills and knowledge are concerned. With this, I end my blog on Outcome-Based Education.
In the next blog, we will discuss Bloom’s Taxonomy and Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. 
Till then, happy reading.


  1. http://academicscience.co.in/admin/resources/project/paper/f201704231492954239.pdf
  2. https://www.myklassroom.com/blog/4-things-to-know-about-outcome-based-education/
  3. Donnelly, Kevin (2007). “Australia’s adoption of outcomes based education — a critique” (PDF). Issues in Educational Research.
  4. Tam, Maureen (2014). “Outcomes-based approach to quality assessment and curriculum improvement in higher education”. Quality Assurance In Education10.1108/QAE-09–2011–0059
  5. Malan, SPT (2000). “The ‘new paradigm’ of outcomes-based education in perspective” (PDF).