Designing B.Ed and EdD curricula using outcomes-based education

Robert Damian ADAMSON

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


In 2007, the Hong Kong government announced that tertiary institutions receiving central funding would be required to incorporate outcomes-based learning in their curricula. The policy was presented as part of a raft of measures to introduce creativity and innovation into the traditional approaches to teaching and learning, that have been described as producing “a somewhat sterile curriculum that emphasized propositional knowledge and avoided awkward questions”(Adamson & Li, 2004, p.59). The Hong Kong government wishes the education system to be in line with what it perceives to be state-of-the-art practices internationally. However, the history and culture of Hong Kong has endowed the local system with its own distinctive characteristics that, as previous efforts to graft foreign curricular initiatives on to the Hong Kong education system have shown, need to be taken into account. The move to require institutions to incorporate outcomes-based was greeted by concerns that the outcomes-based approach was too "Western" (i.e. progressive) for educational values systems prevalent in Hong Kong and, at best, institutions would only pay lip-service to the reform. (Interestingly, a contrasting concern was that outcomes-based learning—which is already falling out of favour in Australia, where it originated, and in other Western systems--would actually have the opposite effect to the intended goal of rejuvenating the curriculum, as it would tend to reinforce rigidity in curriculum design, reducing student choice and flexibility to design their own learning pathways.) At the heart of the matter is the issue of effective international knowledge transfer. This paper reviews Hong Kong’s very mixed experiences of international knowledge transfer in education, and proposes a pragmatic framework for curriculum design that takes into account and negotiates political, social and pedagogical forces at the local and international level. It illustrates how this pragmatic approach to curriculum design involving international knowledge transfer might be realized in the specific case of outcomes-based learning by reporting on the design of two programmes, a B.Ed (Language Education) programme and an Ed.D programme that incorporate the outcomes-based approach. The paper critiques the curricula that were produced by the design process, and identifies some of the strengths and weaknesses of the pragmatic model.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Adamson, R. D. (2008, June). Designing B.Ed and EdD curricula using outcomes-based education. Paper presented at the Pedagogical Research in Higher Education Conference, Liverpool Hope University, England.


  • Teacher Education and Professional Development


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