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Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning : What and How. Part 1 Professor John Biggs. Outcomes-based Education (OBE). There are three main forms of “OBE”. All focus on educational outcomes but each is based on a different philosophy. It’s easy to confuse them.

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Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning : What and How


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    1. Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning: What and How Part 1 Professor John Biggs

    2. Outcomes-based Education (OBE) There are three main forms of “OBE”. All focus on educational outcomes but each is based on a different philosophy. It’s easy to confuse them. 1. Outcome-based Education at school level. Originally for disadvantaged children, but later used generally e.g. Target Oriented Curriculum (TOC) for individualising teaching. 2. Outcomes-based Education. Outcomes at institutional level, used for benchmarking, credit-transfer. 3. Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning (OBTL). Defining learning outcomes at course and subject level, to enhance teaching and learning.

    3. OBE: Institutional Outcomes Most US institutions now have a set of outcomes statements using this ‘taxonomy’: • Knowledge Outcomes (two sub-dimensions), • Skills Outcomes (two sub-dimensions), • Attitude/Value Outcomes (four sub-dimensions), • Relationships with Society and with Particular Constituency Outcomes (four sub-dimensions). This is used to map outcomes across institutions, for the purposes of quality assurance at the institutional level, benchmarking, cross-institutional credit transfer, and for employers and other external stakeholders. Has little directly to do with enhancing teaching and learning

    4. What the UGC said “The UGC’s goal in promoting outcome-based approaches is simple and straightforward—improvement and enhancement in student learning and teaching quality.” (Alice Lam, May 06) OBTL, in other words. “We think that the curriculum revision under '3 + 3 + 4' will be a good opportunity to weave 'outcomes' into the new curriculum.” The UGC also plans to provide encouragement in the form of extra funding to promote early adoption.

    5. Assessment: How well has the student has attained the ILOs Teaching: To facilitate attaining the ILOs ILO: What the student has to do Outcomes-based Teaching and Learning (OBTL): Classroom Based

    6. Assessment: How well the student has met the ILO Teaching: Engaging the student in the verb in the ILO ILO: What the student has to learn Implementing OBTL using Constructive Alignment

    7. Outcome-based Teaching and Learning through Constructive Alignment There are four steps in designing such teaching: 1. describe intended outcomes in the form of standards students are to attain using appropriate learning verbs. 2. create a learning environment likely to bring about the intended outcomes. 3. use assessment tasks enabling you to judge if and how well students’ performances meet the criteria. 4. transform these judgments into standard grading criteria.

    8. Teaching / Learning Activities Designed to elicit desired verbs May be: Large class activities Small class activities Teacher-managed Peer-managed Self-managed as best suits context Assessment Tasks Format such that the target verbs are elicited and deployed in context. Criteria clearly allow judgement as to the quality of the student's performance Constructive Alignment Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) expressed as verbs students have to enact A The very best understanding that could be reasonably expected: verbs such as hypothesise, apply to “far” domains, generate, relate to principle, etc. B Highly satisfactory understanding: verbs such as explain, solve, understand main ideas, analyze, compare, etc. C Quite satisfactory learning, with under- standing at a declarative level: verbs such as elaborate, classify, cover topics a to n, D Understanding at a level that would warrant a Pass: low level verbs, also inadequate but salvageable higher level attempts.

    9. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) . Statements of what students are expected to be able to do as a result of engaging in the learning process (studying a course/programme). . Expressed from the students' perspective. . Expressed in the form of action verbs leading to observable and assessable behaviour. . Related to criteria for assessing student performance.

    10. The Verbs in the ILOs • It is useful to express ILOs by using appropriate verbs. • Teaching is specifically aimed at activating those verbs. • Students should be unable to complete the assessment tasks unless they enact the same verbs that are in the ILOs (criterion-referenced). • Generic high level verbs include: reflect, hypothesise, solve unseen complex problems, generate new alternatives. Such verbs might typically be used to define an A or B grade in meeting the ILOs, depending on the course. Low level verbs such as describe, identify, memorize would be more frequent in defining C and D grades.

    11. Distinction between Teaching Objectives and Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) Teaching objective (aims) What the teacher intends to do. e.g. Introduce university teachers to outcomes-based teaching and learning Intended learning outcomes (for the participants) What the participants are expected to be able to do having been introduced to OBTL e.g. 1. Distinguish between outcomes-based education and outcomes-based teaching and learning. 2. Explain how constructive alignment is used to design teaching and assessment methods. 3. Write an ILO for a subject they are currently teaching.

    12. Levels of ILOs University level What are the attributes of an ideal graduate of BU? Course level What are the intended learning outcomes for students enrolled in the degree course? Subject level What are the intended learning outcomes for students taking a particular subject at a particular level within the course?

    13. Subject ILOs Course ILOs Subject 1 Subject 2 Subject3 Course and Subject ILOs Alignment between the course and subject ILOs 1. Are the ILOs aligned? 2. Do the subject ILOs appropriately address the course ILOs? 3. Are the weightings appropriate? 4. Are there any gaps?

    14. Distinguish the kind of knowledge you want Declarativeknowledge: . Knowing about things . Knowledge we can declare to someone in writing or telling e.g. ‘Distinguish between OBE and OBTL’ Functioningknowledge: . Knowledge we put to work in solving a physics problem, analysing a case study, designing a building, making an argument e.g. ‘Write an ILO for a subject you are currently teaching’

    15. Procedures in designing Subject ILOs 1. Decide what kind of knowledge is to be taught - Declarative or functioning. 2.Select the topics to be taught. 3. Decide the levels of understanding the students are expected to achieve for the different topics. 4. Consider if all the ILOs are of equal importance. 5. Ensure a clear understanding and agreement of the ILOs within the teaching team and other relevant parties e.g. External Reviewer. 6. Communicate the ILOs to students.

    16. Create Formulate Generate Hypothesize Reflect Theorize Analyze Apply Argue Compare/ contrast Criticize Explain causes Relate Justify . . . . Combine Describe Enumerate Perform serial skills List Identify Name Follow simple procedure The SOLO Taxonomy with sample verbs indicating levels of understanding Competence Fail Incompetent Misses point Incompetence one relevant several relevant integrated into generalized to aspect independent aspects a structure new domain Prestructural Unistructural Multistructural Relational Extended Abstract

    17. Levels of Understanding / Performance Some examples: Unistructural identify, name, state (a principle), select Multistructural combine, collate, describe, extract, give an account of, list, present, report on Relational analyze, apply, argue, compare/contrast, criticize, discuss, explain, justify, organize, relate Extended abstract create, formulate, generate, hypothesize, reflect, theorize * Some of the lower levels could be subsumed into the higher levels. E.g. To apply appropriate communicative strategies in reading and writing to different tasks will subsume the lower level ILOs such as identify, name and select.

    18. Some vague ILO verbs Appreciate Become aware of Familiarise with Know Learn about Understand How do these verbs manifest themselves in terms of change of behaviour or standards of / performance?

    19. A Sample Set of Subject ILOs Subject: Communicative strategies Aims: Develop appropriate communicative strategies and improve students' general level of proficiency in English Intended learning outcomes (some examples): 1. Explain different strategies used in communication. 2. Apply appropriate strategies in different modes of communication. 3. Reflect on and improve own communicative strategies.

    20. Designing Teaching/Learning Activities to align with Intended Learning Outcomes Having designed Course ILOs and the Subject ILOs, we now need to activate the verbs or learning activities embedded in the ILOs by designing suitable Teaching/Learning Activities that will facilitate students achieving the ILOs. There are many alternatives to lectures and tutorials, even in large classes.

    21. Four common teaching situations and associated teaching and learning activities SituationTeaching activitiesLearning activities LECTURE talk, explain, clarify listen, take notes, accept, query, discuss with peers, one-minute paper TUTORIAL set/answer questions pre-read, prepare questions, provide feedback learn from peers, critique, analyse PROJECT set brief, ongoing apply, create, self-monitor feedback communicate, teamwork PBL set problems set learning goals, design, apply, accessing desired integrate, solve problems content, skills What teaching/learning activities will best facilitate your ILOs?

    22. Typical ILO Possible TLAs Describe set reading, lecture, field trip Explain tutorial, written essay Integrate project, assignment Apply project, case study Solve problem PBL, case study Design, create project, creative writing Hypothesise experiment, project Reflect reflective diary The point is not how you are going to teach but how and what you want your students tolearn. NOTE! Many of these TLAs can be assessment tasks as well. Then you have excellent alignment.

    23. Adjusting TLAs to Relative Importance of ILOs • Is the time spent on TLAs reflecting the relative weight or importance of the ILO addressed?

    24. Some sample TLAs for subject ILOs on written communicative strategies 1. Explain different (writing) communicative strategies. TLAs: a. Plenary session (‘lectures’) Teaching activities - describe, explain, elaborate, clarify Learning activities - pre-reading, ask questions, group discussion, explain to peers b. Write assignment Teaching activities - set topics and guidelines, provide feedback Learning activities - explain the strategies in the assignment There may be other TLAs which will engage students in explaining different writing communicative strategies.

    25. Some sample TLAs for subject ILOs on written communicative strategies 2. Apply appropriate (writing) communicative strategies TLAs: a. Case study Teaching activities - select case study material (may be), provide comments and feedback Learning activities - select piece of writing for case study, discuss with peers in small groups, analyse, comment, suggest ways of improvement, present own ideas or discussion results in an individual written assignment b. Write an assignment or a group discussion report Teaching activities - set topic (may be), give guideline of requirements of the assignment (relate requirements to relevant ILOs), provide feedback Learning activities - write the assignment using appropriate strategies, revise, edit, self-assess There may be other TLAs which will engage students in applying appropriate strategies in a range of writing tasks.

    26. Some sample TLAs for subject ILOs on writing communicative strategies 3. Reflect and improve own writing communicative strategies. TLAs: Self-assessment Teaching activities - provide feedback Learning activities - self-evaluate a piece of own writing, e.g. an earlier assignment in relation to theories on writing communicative strategies, identify strengths and areas for improvement, revise writing using appropriate strategies in light of evaluation There may be other TLAs which will engage students in reflecting and improving their own writing strategies.