Outcome Based Skilling
- January 20, 2022
- Posted by: learnet_admin
- Category: Perspective
Outcome-based education (OBE) is a novel approach in pedagogy that puts the student at the centre of her learning. It measures student progress at every step, explaining the gap that exists between the current and desired outcome of the student. The obvious question is, how is it different from traditional teaching-learning? Regular education is geared towards mass teaching, completion of the syllabus, and thus does not follow a student-centric approach. It relies on memorisation and theory rather than the practical aspect of skill and knowledge development. OBE allows teachers to innovate and redefine their methods of teaching-learning for a vitalized and energetic classroom that allows students to navigate their own path towards their goals.
Recently, outcome-based skilling has also been met with positive reception. We are already in the thick of a changing job landscape. A byproduct of the pandemic has been the exploration of newer ways of learning and working across the globe. With interventions of technology penetrating our lives further, new skills will be needed for us to stay relevant in our jobs. Roughly 4.5 million people enter the Indian job market annually, the majority of whom require skilling even for entry-level jobs.
The Periodic Labour Force Survey (2019-20) reports that over 96% of peopled aged 15-59 lack formal training, and upto 86% lack any kind of training at all. India has ~487 million people in the workforce – a mammoth number for which foundational skill development is vital for the future.
But, for skilling and upskilling courses to have maximum utility, they must be flexible and tailored to each person’s learning styles and cater to their schedules. Perhaps the most limiting factor in traditional education is having a definite start and end date of courses, which inhibits individuals from completing the course, resulting in poor uptake and lower quality of learning. Not only does outcome-based learning create a self-paced learning environment but also has measurable goals for each learner. These courses detail out the skills and level of expertise that candidates are expected to master on completion.
Courtesy of the pandemic, when we were limited to the four walls of our houses, the only way to learn was through the screen. Now as institutions are slowly opening their doors again, blended learning promises to be a reliable and efficient model. It not only allows the trainer to teach in real-time from wherever they are but also enables the possibility of large-scale delivery of skilling programmes.
Outcome-based training can transcend the rut of regular education as it incentivizes the process of achieving results. Learners can measure their progress for themselves, allowing them to retain the agency of their learning. Blended learning, a judicious mix of technology-enabled learning and a regular classroom set-up, makes this easy. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has facilitated a new revolution in education – self-paced learning. Trainees can get adaptive tests, submit assignments, access courses anytime and anywhere, and chart out their unique paths.
The recently launched Skill Impact Bond by the NSDC and various partners (which we cover in this issue of SPRING) is a results-based financial mechanism. Until now, the focus in financing skill development programmes has been on the inputs. Now, there is a paradigm shift in the approach, concentrating on learning outcomes instead. Rather than a central authority like the government or a donor financing the programme upfront, risk investors finance it to begin with and are later repaid by ‘outcome funders’ if the agreed-upon results are met. Participants and partners are encouraged and incentivized to go beyond acting as only service providers towards enhancing learning outcomes and making a real impact. The results are measured by a third-party organization for impartiality.
Learnet, as an implementing partner of the bond, espouses learner-centricity as it is the most sustainable way of equipping learners of all ages with the right tools to succeed in their chosen careers. It is only when students can retain the material and apply it to real-world contexts that skill development can display its potential.
Outcome-based training strikes a fine balance not only between self-paced and guided learning but also between technology-enabled and traditional learning. It is a sure-shot way of allowing adult learners to learn according to their own styles while securing learning outcomes. At Learnet, we are hopeful that the value of OBE is recognized and gains popularity not only in the school education system but also in the vocational training and skill development sectors.