5 Reasons Outcome-Based Learning Outweighs Design-First Learning

5 Reasons Outcome-Based Learning Outweighs Design-First Learning
Summary: Every successful journey starts with carefully plotting the eLearning course and knowing the destination. The same rule applies to personal and professional development. In this article, I'll share the top 5 reasons why outcome-based learning is better than design-first learning and 3 tips on how to successfully develop an outcome-based learning strategy.

Top 5 Reasons Why Outcome-Based Learning Is Better Than Design-First Learning

Outcome-based learning focuses on the learning objectives instead of placing great emphasis on the Instructional Design strategy or eLearning course design. Every eLearning activity, resource, or assessment is geared toward the desired outcome. As such, online learners have the opportunity to build practical knowledge and skills using the approach that's right for them. Here are the top 5 benefits of choosing outcome-based learning over design-first learning.

1. Provides Online Learners With A Clear Path To Success

Outcome-based learning is goal-oriented. Online learners know exactly what they must do in order to achieve the desired outcome. This gives them a clear path to success and clarifies expectations. For example, which skills they have to develop to improve their task mastery. However, eLearning professionals must provide them with the destination beforehand and lead the way. This comes in the form of clear and concise learning objectives and customized learning paths. They must also give learners the online training resources they require to accomplish their goals, as for instance, a microlearning online training repository where they can access online training tutorials and simulations on their own. There are so many eLearning authoring tools at the moment that can help you create high quality online training tutorials and other online training resources to facilitate outcome-based learning.

2. Personalizes The eLearning Experience

One of the most beneficial aspects of outcome-based learning is that it personalizes the eLearning experience. Online learners are able to focus on their specific goals and gaps in order to achieve their potential. The design of the eLearning course is not the top priority in this case. Instead, the individual needs of the online learner take center stage. eLearning professionals must evaluate how much an online learner knows and what they still need to learn, and then figure out how to bridge that gap. After you have concluded on what online learners really look for, use a tool of your choice which has a built-in previewer and allows you to customize every aspect of your eLearning course.

3. Allows For Self-Paced Learning

The outcome is the focal point of the eLearning course. But online learners have the opportunity to use whichever resources they need to reach that outcome. As a result, they can set their own pace and not have to worry about keeping up with their peers. Furthermore, they're able to concentrate on their strengths and areas for improvement. An outcome-based approach gives online learners the power to train when it's most convenient for them, whenever the need arises. For example, they are in the middle of a work-related task and need an online training tutorial to complete the process.

4. Promotes Active Participation

Online learners play a more active role in outcome-based eLearning courses. In fact, they are encouraged to take charge of the training process, and even create their own resources. Unlike design-first learning courses, there is no clear-cut ideology or theory in place. Online learners have the ability to chart the eLearning course that works best for them, based on the learning goals. For example, they can participate in simulations and branching scenarios to gain more real world experience. First and foremost, outcome-based learning empowers online learners to seize control of their personal and professional development.

5. Gives Online Learners The Ability To Track Progress And Identify Strengths And Weaknesses

"One-size-fits-all" eLearning strategies typically involve pre-defined learning objectives and goals. However, these desired outcomes only consider the whole, not the individual. In the case of outcome-based learning, each online learner is able to track and monitor their strengths and weaknesses. They can break long-term goals into personalized milestones, and then, track every step along the way. This helps to improve their motivation and drive, which enhances the benefits of the eLearning experience. From a corporate eLearning standpoint, outcome-based learning allows organizations to allocate resources more effectively. For example, they can pair employees with relevant online training resources and paths, or choose the best person for the position.

3 Tips To Develop An Effective Outcome-Based Learning Strategy

1. Encourage Online Learners To Define Their Own Learning Objectives

It's important for the organization to clearly define the desired outcomes, such as learning objectives that can help improve customer satisfaction scores or annual sales figures. However, you must also encourage corporate learners to set their own goals that will help them in their everyday lives. Invite them to participate in branching scenarios and simulations to identify gaps and then, create their own targeted learning objectives. You can also use pre-assessments and on-the-job observations to custom-tailor learning outcomes.

2. Research Your Online Learners' Backgrounds

In addition to getting online learners involved in the process, you should also conduct in depth audience research. This may include surveys, LMS reports, and focus groups. For example, your LMS metrics may reveal that most of your online learners lack a specific skill. Thus, you can develop outcomes that focus on this particular gap in order to improve their productivity. Feedback is a valuable tool that can shed light on their preferences, experience level, and knowledge base.

3. Create Personalized Learning Contracts

Learning contracts create a framework for your outcome-based learning program. Online learners are held accountable for their habits and behaviors, which prompts them to actively participate. Learning contracts should include clear learning objectives, recommended online training resources, and a realistic timeline. In addition, have a protocol in place in the event that online learners are unable to meet the requirement, such as supplemental eLearning modules or courses for those who still lack the necessary skills or experience.

Outcome-based learning puts the individual first and the eLearning course design second. As a result, online learners can focus on performance, skill, and knowledge gaps that hinder their development. Every element of the eLearning experience is relevant and relatable, which improves the learner motivation and engagement. You can use this article as a guide to create an effective outcome-based strategy for your next eLearning course.

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