Students’ needs and programme intended outcomes: Tensions, compliance and professional autonomy

Tak Shing John LAM, Kin Sang Jacqueline CHAN, Wai Ming YU, Tsui San Teresa NG, Kam Wing Paul CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


OBL with its merits and demerits is now being practiced in the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIED) as well as other local tertiary institutes. Some demonize it as a “controller” type of mechanism that focuses on the effectiveness and accountability issue of programme and practice in higher education. Others support it as saying that it builds on the assumption that all learners call learn and succeed (Schwartz (1994). The approach can help give learning clear directions and serve as a basis for determining what learning has taken place. Also as teacher educators, we can use this information only at the end of a course but also during a course to improve further teaching and learning. Nevertheless, the process for creating outcomes at different levels needs to be collaborative and open. Ideally speaking it needs to involve a broad range of stakeholders. In the reality world, whether such opportunity or mechanism could exist is of critical importance. In this paper, the case concerns the implementation of an OBL programme that is developed form top down and in a post hoc manner in the Institute. From our student questionnaires and interview findings, we found great discrepancy between teaching team’s and student’s preference for and expectation in the CILOs and the assessment modes. These inevitably lead us to think of some philosophical and pedagogical issues like “How to decide what is most important to learn for students? By our professional judgment? Through students' voices? How to resolve the divide?' Some solutions and other issues are also presented for stimulating academic dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Lam, T. S. J., Chan, K. S. J., Yu, W. M. F., Ng, T. S. T., & Chan, K. W. P. (2010, December). Students’ needs and programme intended outcomes: Tensions, compliance and professional autonomy. Paper presented at the 2nd East Asian International Conference on Teacher Education Research: Teacher Education for the Future: International Perspectives, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


  • Outcome-based learning
  • Curriculum decision-making
  • Student-centredness
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG)
  • TDG project code: T3327
  • Period: TDG 2008-2009
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Output
  • Alt. title: Student needs and objective based learning (OBL): Tensions, compliance and professional jubgement


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