Reflecting on outcome-based education for human services programs in higher education: A policing degree case study

Michael Kennedy, Philip Birch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper aims to consider the impact of outcome-based education (OBE) on students studying human services degrees, particularly those in a policing program. This work examines the validity of the notion that OBE is a progressive teaching approach that improves the quality of education and subsequently professional practice. Design/methodology/approach: A critical analysis of a systemised outcome-based teaching and learning approach is adopted. Findings: OBE has, as an idea, swept across most educational institutions in an apparently revolutionary wave. However, any critical scrutiny of this systemised approach to teaching and learning calls into question whether it is really progressive or empty rhetoric achieving reactionary ends. Any systemised attempt at social change by way of neo-liberal outcomes that are not principle-driven will serve only to reinforce a philosophy of aggressive competition and individualism at the expense of the rule of law and social policy that is situated on a social contract foundation. Practical implications: The practical implications of this paper relate to the delivery of higher education teaching, with particular reference to human service degrees such as policing: the use of post-modernist theory to develop contemporary teaching and learning systems has created challenges with regards to scientific knowledge; a principled, deontological teaching and learning system rather than a utilitarian “outcome”-based delivery is proposed; the validity of the notion that outcome-based teaching and learning systems are progressive initiatives that improve the quality of education is questioned; and the impact of OBE for students entering human services professions such as policing has implications for public and community safety. Originality/value: This paper considers the efficacy of OBE as a model for higher education teaching, with particular reference to human services degrees such as policing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2020

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