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OUTCOME-BASED LEARNING: AN OVERVIEW

D. El-Dakhs

Prince Sultan University - College for Women (SAUDI ARABIA)
Outcome-based (OB) learning, also called standards-based or performance-based education, refers to an education reform model that advocates the empirical measurement of student performance. In other words, the model requires educators to set measurable outcomes for their courses so that students can demonstrate that they have learned the required content and skills. In OB education, course outcomes should be specific, realistic and measurable to allow for the accurate assessment of the course broader objectives.

In order to achieve its educational philosophy, the OB Model does not specify particular teaching methods or techniques. It, however, rejects the traditional focus on input or knowledge, and encourages the setting of clear standards to measure course outcomes. The Model promotes basic principles to improve instruction and assessment, which leave a significant imprint on the instructor's choice of instructional strategies, course materials and assessment tools. For example, OB education advocates new teaching methods, such as project-based learning, and sets certain requirements for effective language testing, like the adoption of criterion-based tests, to the neglect of norm-referenced tests.

The current paper presents an overview of the OB Model. It provides a thorough introduction to the philosophy and basic principles of the Model, and also shows their relevance to actual teaching practices. The paper also includes a summary of the major advantages of the model as well as the different criticisms cited against it. This leads to a discussion of the major challenges that may hinder the successful implementation of the model in skill or content-based classrooms, and a list of practical suggestions to overcome these challenges.