Outcome Based Learning
What do people mean when they talk about outcome based assessment? It seems fairly obvious that it’s got something to do with achieving outcomes. In an education and care setting, people are normally talking about achieving the learning outcomes set out in the EYLF or MTOP or other approved learning framework, but what is so different about achieving outcomes in outcome based learning?
Well first let me tell you a little story from my weekend. I met up with a friend who was complaining that her partner kept telling her how to mow the lawn. (He’d hurt his back so the option of telling him to mow it himself was not available.) She faced the same direction the whole time she was mowing, walking backwards with the mower instead of turning around at the end of the row. The result was a perfectly mown front lawn.
Now, did it matter that she had her own particular mowing style? Of course not, because all that was important was the end result. This is an example of outcome based assessment. It doesn’t matter how you achieve a result, as long as you achieve the right result.
Imagine what could have happened if she had to follow her partner’s ideas about the best way to mow the lawn. She may have got tired before she finished, she may have missed parts and left long sections of grass, or she may not have mown in nice, straight lines. This approach to learning where you have to follow set rules to achieve an outcome is called input based learning.
Modern educational theory recognises that a “one size fits all” or input based approach to education does not meet the needs of most children. Children are heavily influenced by their family, friends and community, and these relationships and interactions are what drive learning, especially in children. EYLF and MTOP gives educators the framework to achieve educational outcomes after considering the need, interests, strengths and knowledge of each child and the interactions they have with their family.
Even the National Regulations have an outcome based flavour about them. We often get asked for advice by services about specific issues to do with cleaning, furniture, equipment, safety and food, and often the answer is to consider the expert advice available and then use their best judgement to decide whether they are providing a child safe environment as required by the regulations. In this case the outcome required is ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of all the children at the service.
So next time your partner/relative tells you you’re doing something wrong, tell them what you’re doing is outcome based.