A new outcome-based curriculum: its impact on student core competence

Ping Chuen Chan, Chi Hung Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Despite vast research on outcome-based education (OBE), there is little consensus among academics regarding its impact, with both positive and negative comments emerging from the literature. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has taken the view that OBE is conducive to the enhancement of student core competencies such as global outlook, critical and creative thinking, social and national responsibility, lifelong learning, entrepreneurship and leadership. The aim of this study was to investigate how a newly developed curriculum, based on the OBE philosophy, impacted on students’ core competencies in an engineering/surveying discipline of PolyU. Qualitative interviews were conducted to establish that OBE was being properly implemented prior to a quantitative examination of its impact on students. Only specific positive learning behaviours were identified among students experiencing OBE. Their core competencies, however, were not statistically proven to be greater than those of students with little or no exposure to OBE. Nevertheless, this did not offer unequivocal evidence to either prove or disprove the effectiveness of OBE, and numerous factors other than the OBE philosophy itself were considered possible causes. It also appeared that some teaching staff lacked faith and knowledge in the implementation of OBE which implicates a need for rectification of the situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Engineering education
  • Outcome-based education
  • Student performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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