According to the National Department of Education’s Policy Document (1997), outcomes-based education (OBE) should be driven by the outcome displayed by the learner at the end of the educational experience. OBE starts with the philosophy that all learners can learn. From this starting point, OBE clearly defines the knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values that learners are to learn.
The end products of the learning process are called outcomes. If we decide what the end products of the learning process must be, before learning takes place, we say that a system is outcomes-based.
Outcome statements have been developed as part of National Department of Education policy documents to indicate what the learner needs to achieve. Critical outcomes, specific outcomes, assessment criteria and performance indicators are all statements of outcomes.
The outcomes also serve the following purposes:
The specific outcomes of the eight learning areas are organised so that schools can prepare learning programmes appropriate for each phase of education.
Teachers and materials-developers will prepare lessons and activities to assist learners in meeting the required outcomes.
The learner will be assessed to see if he or she can demonstrate the outcomes. The results of the assessment show whether the learner is competent or still needs assistance in order to achieve a particular outcome. If a learner still needs assistance, more activities are designed around the same outcomes in the learning programme. These activities address the learner’s weaknesses.
If the learner is competent, he or she can start working on more complex outcomes.