Outcome-Based Education: Benefits and Challenges

22 February 2024
Outcome-Based Education

Which is more important? Degree or skills? Both are interlinked and relate to professional qualifications. However, the latter is a core component and outcome of quality education that all students must obtain and have access to.

Besides, the Association of American Colleges and Universities survey indicates that 93 percent of employers emphasize skills. That is where outcome-based education plays a crucial role by inculcating essential competencies in students.

What is Outcome-Based Education?

Outcome-based education (OBE) is a purposeful and strategic educational approach that prioritizes defining learning outcomes. The next step includes developing the educational process, including implementing pedagogies to achieve the outcomes.

It goes far beyond the traditional method of simply relaying the teaching content, completing the syllabus, or conducting tests. In fact, it focuses on measuring the skills, knowledge, attitude, and aptitude students attain by the end of the program.

Furthermore, the teacher identifies the learning outcomes and then orients the instructional methods, curriculum, and assessments accordingly. Also, attaining competency in specific skills and knowledge takes center stage in this approach. Hence, it is only fitting to take a look at some of the advantages.

Outcome-Based Education

1. Clearly-Defined Learning Outcomes

The syllabus and curriculum provide the necessary guidance for a particular academic session. However, it becomes a major problem when the focus is more on syllabus completion than quality education.

Quality education is more than facilitating facts; instead, it serves to prepare well-rounded individuals for holistic development. Therefore, one of the first and primary steps in OBE is to create clearly defined learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes are a set of observable and measurable skills and knowledge that students can demonstrate by the end of a course. Hence, one should consider the following while defining the learning outcomes for students:

  • Learning outcomes must be S-M-A-R-T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely).
  • Use active and specific words to define the outcomes; for example, assess the healthcare needs of people living in endangered areas.

Clearly defined outcomes enable students to understand the objectives and follow a step-by-step process to accomplish them.

2. Mastery of Skills and Knowledge

Graduates looking for a job suitable as per their qualifications or settling for low-paying part-time gigs is a common occurrence. Nine out of ten times, employers and companies reject the resumes of candidates due to insufficient knowledge.

In other cases, they fail to clear the interview round when they can’t show their practical skills at a specific task. OBE recognizes the skill and learning gap and focuses on upskilling or reskilling students.

Therefore, when students learn various concepts and topics, they obtain an in-depth understanding. Moreover, they learn the practical application and how to use the knowledge in real-life scenarios. For example, they learn the fundamentals of coding and effective ways to prevent or remediate hacking.

3. Relevant Learning

Do companies use the same software that they used ten years ago? How about the disease prevention strategies? Are those the same? What new professions have emerged in recent years that will shape the modern world and future?

These are some of the questions that OBE helps to address. The pedagogical approach is conducive to updated teaching and learning to generate positive outcomes. Besides, these outcomes are in line with the demands of society.

Moreover, when institutes implement OBE through e-learning, they ensure to update students with relevant learning materials. As a result, students obtain information about the latest technology, discoveries in various fields, etc.

Hence, they can identify in-demand competencies or skills and work towards adopting them, making themselves well-equipped. So, it contributes to their overall competency and elevates their chances in a competitive job market.

Crafting Success: A Guide to Outcome-Based Education

4. Continuous Improvement

The traditional educational approaches include summative examinations that allow students to know their progress only after they get their results. In contrast, teachers can track the ongoing progress of students through OBE.

Besides, there are three parameters in the educational methodology: program education objectives, program outcomes, and course outcomes. The first one relates to knowledge and skills, and the second covers the objectives of the program. Finally, the third one relates to statements that define the skills and attitude at the course’s end.

Activities, assignments, and various kinds of assessments align with the respective outcomes, enabling teachers to assess progress. Furthermore, they can use tools like LMS to develop customized tests according to skill and understanding levels.

5. Varied Instructional Approaches

The one-size-fits-all or conventional approach to teaching is inadequate to meet the learning needs of students. At the same time, students fail to learn and upskill themselves through outdated methods.

Therefore, varied instructional approaches that teachers implement under the OBE model are essential in this context. Likewise, they can create and rely on appropriate evaluation techniques to assess students’s overall development.

Also, students can use various learning tools and mechanisms at their convenience to learn a skill or knowledge accordingly.

6. Experiential Learning

Conventional or traditional teaching and learning systems rely heavily on outdated mechanisms, such as passive learning. Hence, a teacher-centric methodology is crucial to such mechanisms, providing little or no scope for students to take the lead.

OBE offers a student-centric system wherein teachers and students collaborate to establish a dynamic learning environment. For example, students participate in several activities that give them real-time experience. Also, it helps to gain an in-depth understanding of core topics and subjects.

7. Self-Directed Learning

Lack of motivation and gradual detachment from academics are two consistent issues that most students face. However, the innovative education model encourages students to take an active interest in their learning process.

Besides, students are already aware of the learning outcomes and objectives of the course from the beginning. Therefore, they know the course of action that they must plan and implement to achieve their goals.

It prevents them from going off track, and even if they give into distraction momentarily, they can return to the correct path. Although it creates autonomy and self-direction, it instills a sense of self-discipline as well.

Disadvantages of Outcome-Based Learning

1. Implementation Obstacles

Teachers and students who have been accustomed to conventional or traditional methods of teaching and learning may face issues. They might find the OBE model a little too modern, making them resist adopting it.

However, it is noteworthy to point out that adopting any new mechanism takes time and patience. Incorporating appropriate and robust tools like MasterSoft’s outcome-based education software helps to streamline the process.

Teachers can map learning outcomes, create different online assessments, manage institutional data, and analyze outcomes.

2. Inability to Create Clear Learning Outcomes

At times, teachers might find it challenging to develop clear and measurable outcomes that go with the program’s mission and objectives. But that is where they need to research the program and course and determine the industry requirements.

Talking to industry experts and academicians is particularly helpful, as it helps to provide relevant information.

3. Faculty Training

Teachers who have little or no knowledge about the OBE model will face difficulty implementing it in the class. Therefore, providing faculty training is an essential responsibility of higher education institutes (HEIs).

In fact, HEIs can conduct continuous professional development opportunities for teachers to update their teaching methodologies. Besides, it will enable them to learn the nuances of the OBE model and accurate ways of implementation.

4. Resource Restrictions

Conducting the educational model requires rubrics, assessments, and faculty training, which take additional resources. On the other hand, manual management of data requires time and effort.

That is why integrating tools like LMS will help to collect, maintain, and share student data regarding assessments, evaluations, and outcomes.


Outcome-based education is a student-centric education model that provides clear and concise objectives for students and teachers. Consequently, it enables them to deliver high-quality instruction, improve student learning, and achieve academic goals.

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Gaurav Somani Author :

Gaurav Somani,

Academic Consultant

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