Office of Education Development and Gateway Education

OBTL - Outcomes Based Teaching and Learning

An outcome-based approach to student learning is a student-centred approach. This approach calls for the articulation of what we expect our students to learn, and gathering of evidence to determine whether they have learned it. Clear understanding and articulation of intended learning outcomes facilitates the design of an effective curriculum, implementation of relevant and appropriate teaching, learning assessments tasks. The outcome-based approach has been widely adopted in universities across the world. It guides the active learning of students, and the continual improvement of courses and programmes.

OBTL at CityU

City University of Hong Kong has embarked on a proactive plan to implement outcomes based teaching and learning (OBTL) in all its academic programmes based on the concept of Constructive Alignment, staggered since 2006. Over the years, efforts from individual staff to departments, colleges and institutional wide have been made to define and align graduate outcomes at university, programme and course levels. Courses revision in adopting OBTL formats and principles, training and discussions for effective implementation etc. were made. To continue our efforts, focus will be in the adoption of concrete measures to implement OBTL as recommended by UGC in the academic years of 2010-2012.
[OBTL at a Glance] or [ getting started with OBTL ]

Aligning intended learning outcomes at three levels (Biggs 2007)

Intended learning outcomes (ILOs) apply at the institutional level as graduate outcomes, and at the programme and course levels. Graduate outcomes can provide useful guidelines for designing programme outcomes, which in turn, are addressed by the outcomes of specific course ILOs. Thus do check out CityU's Graduate Outcomes and respective programme outcomes.

Four stages in the design of constructively aligned
teaching and assessment

  • Describe the intended learning outcome (ILOs) in the form of a verb (activity), its object (the content) and specify the context and a standard the students are to attain.
  • Create a learning environment using teaching and learning activities (TLA) that address that verb and therefore are likely to bring about the intended outcome.
  • Use assessment tasks (AT) that also contain that verb, thus enabling you to judge with the help of rubrics if and how well students performance meet the criteria or in another words, if and how well they have achieved the intended learning outcomes
  • Transform these judgments into standard grading criteria. Inform or even discuss them with the students.

OBTL e-Learning Tool

EDGE provides a range of e-learning tools that can assist staff in developing their learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, developing assessment tasks and grading of students. [ Read more ]

OBTL e-Learning Tool

OBTL Workshops

Past workshops/resources to assist academic staff to adapt to the changing nature of the environment in which they work, and incorporate significant learning opportunities in relation to OBTL and e-learning, as well as maintaining the focus on understanding how our students learn, assessing the strengths and weaknesses in their learning strategies, and providing resources and academic support to enable students to take proactive action to better manage their own learning. [ Read more ]