What’s the real outcome of “learning outcomes”?

Frank Furedi is right:

…learning outcomes are not just another banal instrument deployed to monitor and quantify the achievements of students. The very purpose of this organisational instrument is to accomplish a shift in emphasis from learning to outcomes. This is a technique through which a utilitarian ethos to academic life serves to diminish what would otherwise be an open-ended experience for student and teacher alike. Those who advocate learning outcomes do so expressly with the aim of abolishing such experiences….

And not just a shift in emphasis, but a shift in the fundamental structure of academic institutions. Here’s the recipe (for disaster): Add “learning outcomes” mentality to MOOCs, sprinkle with a generous helping of self-serving misunderstanding of revolutionary education theorists such as Ivan Illich, deploy in a bottom-line obsessed corporate structure, and you can kiss the idea of a “teacher” goodbye. SIRI will be able to to it all at a fraction of the price of a human teacher!

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