Authors: Yohannes Woldetensae
Autonomy and accountability are being newly implemented within the Ethiopian higher education. One crucial area of accountability is the relevance and quality of programs that guarantees the availability of appropriate and effective teaching/learning processes ensuring that the outcomes (graduates‟ achievements) meet the development needs of the country. In response to academic accountability, higher education institutions need to revise their approach to learning and be committed to the improvement of their instructional methodologies. An outcomes approach to learning is a good educational practice and effective tool for successful education as well as for quality enhancement. An outcomes approach offers a framework for specifying the learning outcomes of a program in terms of knowledge, skills and attributes expected from graduates of the program. It identifies the processes (curriculum, teaching/learning and assessment methods) that enable the outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated. Through outcomes approach, education programs are able to promote active learning opportunities for students. To assure that students graduating from degree programs will possess relevant knowledge and skills to be successful in the work place, an outcomes-based learning approach shall be used in Ethiopian higher education institutions. This paper presents the main features of outcomes approach to learning. The implications in adopting outcomes-based education to teaching, learning and assessment methods are discussed to indicate the challenges of an outcomes approach that may confront higher education institutions and the academic community. Some recommendations are proposed for promoting the outcomes approach to learning in Ethiopian higher education institutions. The paper concludes that academic institutions need to adopt an outcomes approach to learning in order to improve the overall quality of higher education provision in Ethiopia, and to meet the expectations of students, employers and other stakeholders.