Outcome Based Education (OBE)

Outcome Based Education (OBE)

February 18, 2018: A workshop on “Outcome Based Education (OBE)”  for SAC members of all  Departments was held on 18 February, 2018 at IIUC Conference room. Prof. Dr. Engr. Mohibul Hoque Bhuyan Chairman EEE  Department, South East University, Dhaka, was the Key-note Speaker of the workshop. The meeting was presided over by Prof. Dr. Md. Delawer Hossain, hon’ble Pro Vice-Chancellor & IQAC Director. The Chairmen of the Departments, the Coordinators and members of the SA Committees were present in the workshop. Prof. Dr. Engr. Mohibul Hoque Bhuyan conducted the meeting with power point presentation. The presentation highlighted  the following areas:


1.Outcomes of the Workshop: After this workshop the participants will be able to-

  • Define and explain about OBE policies, procedures and requirements;
  • Identify about accreditation processes;
  • Identify the importance of OBE for accreditation;
  • Explain the requirements of OBE;
  • Implement OBE through Course Mapping with POs;
  • Prepare taxonomy table for various courses.
  1. Introduction of OBE: Outcome-based Education (OBE) has become a central feature in the accreditation of engineering degrees offered by institutions of higher learning worldwide. The assessment and evaluation of students' learning outcomes are the general criteria set by various types of accreditation bodies in different countries, e.g.,
    • the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in the United States of America
    • the Australian Graduate Attributes set by the Engineers Australia
    • the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) within the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM)
    • Board of Accreditation of Engineering and Technical Education (BAETE) through Institute of Engineers Bangladesh (IEB) in Bangladesh.

All of them moved towards the adoption of OBE for engineering education at tertiary level. With the rapid advancement of engineering and technology as well as change of business functions, job functions of engineers are also changing rapidly. To meet these changes engineering programs are also being changed. These changes are mandated by various accreditation agencies.

  1. New dimension: Each of the engineering programs must have well defined outcomes for the graduates being produced with certain skills and abilities. When such system is available in a particular program then it is called
    Outcome Based Education or in short it is known as OBE. All curricula will be anchored on the concept of OBE in terms of course designing, instructional planning, teaching and assessing students learning.


  1. Definition of OBE: OBE is a process that involves assessment and evaluation practices in education to reflect the attainment of expected learning and showing mastery in the program area. That is, OBE is the process that focuses at achieving certain specified outcomes in terms of individual student learning.


  1. Outcomes (Attributes) are the key things that students should understand and be able to do or the qualities they
    should develop. Both program structures and curricula are designed to achieve those capabilities or qualities they should develop.

The keys to having an outcome-based system are:

  1. a) Developing a clear set of learning outcomes around which all of the system's components can be focused.
  2. b) Establishing the conditions and opportunities within the system that enable and encourage all students to achieve
    those essential outcomes.
  1. Reasons for OBE: The main reason for this high level worldwide adoption is due to the fact that OBE advocates a paradigm shift from traditional practices of course credit accumulation to a focus on the students' achievement in-
    high order learning and
    the mastery of cognitive thinking skills.
    • This is believed to be a better measurement of the students' success in
    achieving the key necessary skills.
    • Within an institution, OBE implementation requires restructuring of
    the educational program, courses, curriculum, assessment and
      reporting systems


  1. Purposes of OBE: The two main purposes of OBE inform its underlying philosophy of success for all learners‟. Spady (1994) phrases the purposes as follows:
    ● Ensuring that all learners are equipped with the knowledge, competence and qualities needed to be successful after
    they exit their educational system; and
    ● Structuring and operating programs of the university so that those outcomes can be achieved and maximized for all


  1. OBE: A Paradigm Shift:


Old Approach

New Approach

● What are we doing?

● What are our students becoming?

● Input Based

● Outcome Based

● Educational activities as an end

● Educational activities as a means to an end

● Practice determine the outcomes

● Outcome informs practice

● Process for meeting external standards

● Process for feedback/improvement


  1. Differences between ‘old’ and ‘new’ approaches:


The differences between the “old‟ and the “new‟ educational approaches to teaching….

Old Approach

New Approach

Learners are passive

Learners are active

The approach is exam-driven

Learners are assessed on an ongoing basis

Rote-learning is encouraged

 Critical thinking, reasoning, reflection and action are encouraged.

The syllabus is content-based and divided into subjects

Content is integrated and learning is relevant and connected to real-life situations

Learning is textbook/ worksheet bound and teacher-centred

 Learning is learner-centred, the teacher facilitates and constantly applies group work and team work to consolidate the new approach

Emphasis is on what the teacher hopes to achieve

 Emphasis is on what the learner will be able to know and do

Content is placed into rigid time-frames

Content is placed into rigid time-frames

The curriculum design process is not open to public comment.

 Comment and input from the wider community is encouraged

CQI is not in place

CQI is inevitable


  1. Features of OBE:
  • OBE is an educational process directed/ focused at achieving certain specified outcomes in terms of individual student learning.
  • Outcomes - key things students should understand and be able to do or the qualities they should develop.
  • Both program/ course structures and/ or curricula are designed to achieve those capabilities or qualities.
  • Educational structures and curriculum are regarded as means not ends. If they do not do the job they are re-thought. [Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)].


  1. Types of Outcomes in OBE:

There are two major types of outcomes in OBE:
i. The first type emphasizes on  a.  Measurement of coursework, b. Examination results, c.  Rates of course completion

                                                        and d. Employment upon graduation.
ii. The second type emphasizes greater focus on long-term outcomes leading to the future career success of the learner.
It is commonly expected that the learners will be able to express what they have learned and capable of performing as a result of completing their graduation.


  1. What does OBE address?

OBE addresses the following key questions:
WHAT do we want the students to be able to do?  • Have Knowledge, Develop Skills and be able to solve problems.
HOW can we help students best to achieve it?    • Student Centered Learning
HOW will we know whether the students have achieved it?  • Through various assessment schemes
HOW do we close the loop for further improvement [Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)]?  • Plan-Do-Check-Act.


  1. Main Principles of OBE:

The best-known model of OBE was developed by Bill Spady and his associates. Spady lists four principles that he believes should characterize OBE.
a. Clarity of focus (having specific outcomes - gives a strong sense of purpose to everything teachers and students do). This means that everything teachers do must be clearly focused on what they want students to know, understand and be
able to do. In other words, teachers should focus on helping students to develop the knowledge, skills and personalities that will enable them to achieve the intended outcomes that have been clearly articulated.

  1. Design down, deliver up (when planning curriculum, educators start with the outcomes and work backwards; when planning instruction, teachers teach what students need to learn to demonstrate the outcomes). It means that the curriculum design must start with a clear definition of the intended outcomes that students are to achieve by the end of the program. Once this has been done, all instructional decisions are then made to achieve this desired end result.
  2. High expectations (OBE departs from traditional education in its assumption that all students can learn well—although not in the same way and not necessarily on the same day). It means that teachers should establish high, challenging standards of performance in order to encourage students to engage deeply in what they are learning. Helping students to achieve high standards is linked very closely with the idea that successful learning promotes more successful learning.

  3. Expanded opportunities (students must be permitted to demonstrate their learning in different ways, and they must have numerous opportunities to demonstrate the outcomes, not just one. Spady calls this ―grading in pencil‖).
    Teachers must strive to provide expanded opportunities for all students. This principle is based on the idea that not all learners can learn the same thing in the same way and at the same time. However, most students can achieve high

standards if they are given appropriate opportunities.

                              It’s not what we teach to the students, it’s what students learn from us.



  1. Related Terms of OBE:



Common terms for same concept


Statements that describe the expected accomplishments of graduates during the first few years after graduation.

Goals, outcomes


Statements that describe what students are expected to  know and able to do  by the time of graduation.

Objectives, Standards

Performance  Criteria

Specific measureable  statements  identifying the performance(s) rquired to meet  the outcome: Confirmable through evidence.

Standards, Indicators, Rubrics, Specifications,Metrics, Outcomes.


Processes that identify, collect, use and prepare data that can be used to evaluate achivement.



Process of reviewing  the result of collection and analysis and  making a determination of the value of findings and action to be taken.



  1. Terminologies Related to OBE:

The accreditation of an engineering program is generally judged with respect to defined
     i.             Program Education Objectives (PEOs)

  1. Program Objectives (POs)/ Student Outcomes (SOs)
  2. Course Outcomes (COs)


  • Each program must have assessment processes in place for continuous improvement with documented results. The
    program must have assessment and evaluation processes to determine the extent to which the SOs and POs are
    • Any well thought course required for an engineering degree should contribute towards fulfilling the program
           outcomes and program educational objective.


  1. Requirements for OBE:
  • High degree of supervision
  • Office space
  • Lectures to be constantly changing or renewed
  • Flexibility in the distribution of resources
                                       Costs are involved

  1. Requirements for Faculty Members/ Instructors and Supervisors:
  • Pedagogical skills
  • Scientific skills
  • Time management
  • Project based on staff research
                   Needs Training for All


  1. Requirements for the Students
  • Active role – students must come prepared for each class; contribute by teaching others, actively participating,

                         taking risks, learning from instructor/ classmates
        • Ethics – respect, trust and openness
        • Committed to learning – continuous improvement.


  1. Expectations from Students:


 What are Expected from Students under OBE?

   Students are expected to be able to do more challenging tasks other than to memorize and reproduce what was taught.
• Students should be able to write project proposals, complete projects, analyze case studies, give case presentations,
   show their abilities to think, question, research, and make decisions based on the findings.
• Students should be more creative, able to analyze and synthesize information.
• Students should be able to plan and organize tasks, work in a team as a community or in entrepreneurial service teams to propose solutions to problems and market their solutions

  1. Required activities for OBE:

An OBE program generally requires the following activities:

  1. Defining educational activities or goals.
  2. Defining educational outcomes that the graduates would be able to do at the time of graduation.
  3. Identifying the stakeholders and their involvement in articulating and evaluating education objectives and outcomes.
  4. Having a well- designed curriculum that will produce the desired objectives and outcomes.
  5. Mapping of the curricular courses how they contribute to the educational objectives and outcomes.
  6. Developing continuous improvement educational processes  for assessing and evaluating the  degree

of achievements of the educational objectives and outcomes for program improvements.


  1. Reasons of Accreditation:
  • No person is allowed to practice unless he is a Professional Engineer.
  • Professional Engineer may use ―Engr. before his name OR ―PEng. after his name.
  • Graduate Engineers need to register before taking up employment as an Engineer
  • Professional Engineer - a Graduate Engineer who has obtained the prescribed practical experiences, passed the Professional Assessment Examination, and satisfied all other requirements of the Bangladesh
    Professional Engineers Registration Board (BPERB), which is a Provisional Member of Engineers Mobility Forum (EMF).



NO OBE means NO ACCREDITATION. This new policy has been adopted by BAETE.


  1. Deficiencies of Traditional Education
    Traditional Education System -
    § Provides students with a learning environment with little attention to whether or not students ever learn the material.
    § Gives students grades and rankings compared to each other, thus students become exam oriented or CGPA driven.
    § Does not prepare the Graduates completely to make them as the work force.
    § Lacks the emphasis on soft skills required for the jobs e.g. communication skills, interpersonal skills, analytical skills, etc.



  1. Benefits of OBE
  • More Directed and Coherent
  • Improved Learning
  • Defined Graduate Attributes.
  • Graduates are more ―relevant to Industry and other fields
  • Stakeholders are (more well rounded graduates
  • Well Managed Education System
  • Increase in Institutional Effectiveness
  • Enhanced Accountability
  • Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) is in place; it is inevitable in OBE.


  1. Continuous Quality Improvement
    The program should have a continuous quality improvement mechanism. It should demonstrate an established system for periodically compiling the level of attainment in terms of PEO, including a mechanism for tracking and obtaining
    feedback from graduates and their employers. The outcomes of these exercises should be evaluated, and the identified shortcomings and limitations should be used to refine and improve the program.

    POs should be assessed on a regular cycle. Each teaching module should have clear quality requirements and facilitate the achievement of COs through teaching and evaluation methods. Students should provide feedback in every
    course on the appropriateness of the COs,
    course content, delivery of content, assessment and the attainment of COs. The program should evaluate the curriculum and teaching quality on a regular basis while considering feedback
    from faculty members and students
    . The program should demonstrate that the results of this periodic evaluation are used for continuous improvement.

The program should have a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) mechanism through the following processes:

 Internal Stakeholder:
• Feedback from students
• Student evaluation of courses
• Student survey (documented)
• Feedback from course instructors
External Stakeholder :
• Feedback from external stakeholders
• Feedback from alumni
• Feedback from employers

ü Process of receiving feedback from different

ü Process for utilizing the feedback to update COs, POs,
     PEOs, curriculum, delivery and assessment method.

ü Copies of supporting documents (course files, meeting
    minutes, analysis, reports etc.)

CQI Loops
• CQI Loops for COs, POs and PEOs


  1. Process of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

Courtesy: Prof. Dr. Engr. Muhibul Haque Bhuyan, EEE, SEU, Dhaka


  1. Engineering Accords
  • Engineering is a global business. Industries demand graduates having certain skills acquired from the Academic Program. In order to ensure quality assurance worldwide, an International Engineering Alliance has been formed with a mission to work together to advance and benchmarking and mobility of engineering profession.
  • There are three agreements for mutual recognition of qualifications of engineering educational programs-
    • Washington Accord- 1989- 4 year degree (BSc Engg)
    • Dublin Accord- 2001- 3 year degree (Diploma)
    • Sidney Accord- 2002- 2 year degree (Technician)


  1. Engineers Mobility Forum

It is formed for the implementation of the accords. The membership requires developing criteria for quality assurance and process. Each country needs a professional engineers body to register with International Professional Engineers. There are two categories of Membership:
i.  Provisional Membership and  ii. Full Membership.


  1. Washington Accord

The Washington Accord is an international accreditation agreement for professional engineering academic degrees, between the bodies responsible for accreditation in its signatory countries. It was established in 1989.The agreement recognizes that there is substantial equivalence of programs accredited by those signatories.


The Washington Accord covers undergraduate engineering degrees under Outcome Based Education, OBE approach.

In short, the Washington Accord is an Agreement: 

i.• that establishes equivalence of other countries’ accredited professional engineering programs,

  1. ii. that Accredited Engineering Graduates are recognized by other signatory countries,

iii. that possible employment as Engineers in those countries without further examinations or assessments


  1. Washington Accord Signatories [country, body, admission year]
    Australia - (Engineers Australia, 1989)
    Canada - (Engineers Canada, 1989)

United Kingdom - (Engineering Council UK, 1989)
United States - (ABET, 1989)

New Zealand - (Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand, 1989)

Ireland - (Engineers Ireland, 1989)
Hong Kong, China - (The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, 1995)

South Africa - (Engineering Council of South Africa, 1999)
Japan - (Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education, 2005)

Singapore - (Institution of Engineers Singapore, 2006)
Chinese Taipei - (Institute of Engineering Education Taiwan, 2007)
Korea - (Accreditation Board for Engineering Education of Korea, 2007)
Malaysia - (Board of Engineers Malaysia, 2009)
Turkey - (MÜDEK, 2011)
Russia - (Association for Engineering Education of Russia, 2012)
India - (National Board of Accreditation, 2014)
Sri Lanka - (Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, 2014)
People's Republic of China - (China Association for Science and Technology, 2016)

The following countries have provisional signatory status and may become member signatories in the future:
Bangladesh - (Board of Accreditation for Engineering and Technical Education, BAETE)
Costa Rica - (Association of Engineers and Architects of Costa Rica)
Mexico - (Consejo de  Acreditación de la Enseñanza de la Ingeniería)
Pakistan - (Pakistan Engineering Council)à moved to FM in 2016
Peru - Instituto de Calidad Y Acreditacion de Programas de Computacion, Ingeneria Y Technologia (ICACIT)
Philippines - (Philippine Technological Council)

Washington Accord’s Role: Graduate mobility and recognition through global standards and best practice in Accreditation.


  1. Engineering Program Requirements:


Engineering Program


(Knowledge and Understanding)










  1. Definitions of Outcomes:
    An outcome generally means the possible or likely results of something, a process, meeting, activity etc. Each OBE program should have some outcomes. These should be identified and defined at the beginning of a program so that their achievements can be measured and evaluated to meet some needs. Learning outcomes could result from a program, a
    course, a chapter or a section/ topic of a chapter.

 After the Completion of

What the students would be able to do

A program

Program Outcomes (POs) or Student Outcomes (SOs)

A course

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

A chapter

Learning Outcomes (LOs)

A Section/Topic of a Chapter

A Section/Topic Learrning Outcomes (COs)



  1. Academic Learning Compacts:

The program outcomes are very specific to attain certain POs leading to specified program educational objectives. The graduates should be empowered with the knowledge capital for the engineering practice required for their early job life, but as they become experienced they may be required managerial and social skills. So, some non-engineering disciplines related abilities are required for their life-long professional career and for taking the broader responsibilities and leadership roles. So, few Academic Learning Domains (ALDs) need to be set-up for the students of all disciplines across the university. Program specific COs, CLOs, POs, PEOs etc. should be designed aiming at achieving the  following five domains:

  1. Contents- Knowledge in specific area,
  2. Critical Thinking Skills;
  3. Communication Skills;
  4. Integrity/ Ethics
  5. Project Management Skills



  1. Levels of Outcomes:

Program Educational Objectives  (PEO)

Few years (3 to 5)after Graduation

Program  Learning Outcomes (PLO/PO)

Upon graduation

Course/ Subject Learning Outcomes (CLO/CO)

Upon subject completion

Weekly/Topic Outcomes

Upon weekly/ topic completion


  1. Developing OBE Curriculum:

Courtesy: Prof. Dr. Engr. Muhibul Haque Bhuyan, EEE, SEU, Dhaka


  1. Educational Process – Stakeholders:


  1. Program Criteria for EEE
  2. The structure of the curriculum must provide both breadth and depth across the range of engineering topics implied by the title of the program, which require in-depth knowledge that allows an analytical approach based on first fundamental principles.


  1. The program must demonstrate that graduates have : knowledge of probability and statistics  , including applications appropriate to the program name and objectives; and knowledge of mathmatics through differential  and integral calculus , basic science s, computer science, and engineering sciences  necessary to   analyze and design complex electrical and electronic devices, software, and systems containing hardware  and software  components , as appropriate to program objectives.


  1. Program containing the modifier “Electrical” in the title must also demonstrate  that graduates have  knowledge  of advanced  mathematics , typically including  differential equations, linear algebras, complex variables, and discrete mathematics.


  1. Program containing the modifier “Electronics” in the title must also demonstrate  that graduates have  knowledge  electronics related courses.


  1. Conclusions:
  • OBE is required for Engineering and other Program across the Universities in Bangladesh to have global standards.
  • The OBE model is helpful for getting accreditation and to join various alliances worldwide, e.g., EMF, WA, IEA etc. for engineering education.

Adoption of OBE will help us to attract students from outside Bangladesh due to graduates’ increased satisfaction level.

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