Outcome Based Education and Knowledge LO30349

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 07/10/03

Replying to LO30336 --

Dear Organlearners,

Terje Tonsberg <tatonsberg@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Law of entropy production, 7E based feedback, wholeness of
>knowledge, considering all possible solutions to problems for
>each student and its feedback.... etc.
>Immense indeed. Can regular human beings do it? ;-) How
>would you teach teachers and curriculum designers to do this
>for their subjects? Is there a procedure for determining the
>LObs, their sequencing and associated activities
>(i.e. thought-exchanging, problem-solving, game-playing,
>exemplar-exploring and art-expressing)? What is the role of
>correspondent logic in this?

Greetings dear Terje,

I just had to smile when i read that "regular human beings" ;-)

Yes, they can do it, provided they are dedicated to learning. A project
like putting a man on the moon did not come by itself -- it required many
years of learning and experimenting, going step by step into greater

I am not sure how i will teach teachers. But of one thing i am certain --
the teaching will require from them to actually design the LObs (Learning
Objectives) for a particular course. This "hands on" experience is
absolutely necessary.

Yes, there is a procedure, but a rather strange one. While designing the
LObs for a general chemistry course for the third time, i became convinced
that certain patterns had to be adhered to when doing it. Some of these
patterns were commented upon in books and articles on the topic. But
others were just there, glaring at me without having been articulated by
someone before.

Since i have studied logic privately for some twenty years, i had a strong
feeling that the patterns were logically related. But i had one big
problem. More that 99% of research in all logic had been done on
statements. (The sentences of a language can be catergorised into
statements, questions and commands.) Many logical systems for statements
had been constructed, but not even one for questions or commands. Learning
Objectives, when all their window dressing had been removed, are nothing
but commands. So i needed a logic for commands, but none was available.
Thus i had to enter no-man's land and design a system for myself.

I succeeded. Two things surprised me. The first is that i could actually
produce in a symbolical manner these patterns required to develop a
curriculum in terms of learning objectives. I began to call these patterns
the laws of teaching. (In the last chapter of my intended book i delineate
this logic symbolically and derive a number of these laws of teaching.)

The scond thing which surpised me is that the logic of commands is far
more complex than the logic of statements, containing the latter as a
special case! All other logicians believe that the three logics
(statements, questions, commands) would be independent from each other,
should the last two be uncovered. At last i began to understand why kings
had to rule by commands rather than statements or questions.

Here are some of these derived laws of teaching concerning Learning
Objectives (LObs):-
* the mastery of a LOb has to be precise before proceeding to the next
* Connect the mastery of a new LOb to a LOb which has already been
   mastered precisely.
* The sequence of LObs has to be mastered in the order of increasing
Let me hasten to add that there are several ways and not only one way
to develop a course in terms of LObs. Although i gave my students one
such a way, many of them rearranged broad units (topics) among them
according to their own liking and learning styles.

Unfortunately, i could not derive the 7Es (seven essentialities of
creativity) with this logic of commands. Thus they have to be used
separately as a sort of second opinion to ensure that the LObs are rich
enough to cover the course entirely. I would certainly hate to teach most
teachers this logic of commands -- it would be far too abstract to them.
And after all, i myself had been aware of patterns between the LObs before
i could derive them by the logic of commands. That is why i would rather
teach with "hands on" experiences.

It is one thing to formulate (for the teacher) and to digest (for the
learner) any LOb. But it is an entirely different issue to master such a
LOb. This is where the ESCs (Elementary Sustainers of Creativity such as
thought-exchanging, problem-solving, game-playing, exemplar-exploring and
art-expressing) come in. Each of the LObs sort of "suggest" which of these
ESCs can be used in its mastering. A learning event is then designed using
an ESC for mastering that LOb.

Terje, i hope that i gave you some notion of how these LObs can be
developed for a course. After all which i wrote about, i want to stress
one thing. The LObs are intended to develop knowledge while mastering them
and not to cover the information associated with such knowledge. OBE
(Outcome Based Education) is often a mess because teachers do not make
this crucial distinction between knowledge which dwells within the mind
and information which exists outside it.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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