The most determining factor for choosing this article was that it discusses consequences of current conceptions and use of learning outcomes in the field education for the nature of learning. The authors raise question about global trends in education governance which accentuate measurable and quantifiable outcomes as important indicators of educational quality. They argue that if learning outcomes are predominantly used for quality control purposes and performance management, there might be several implications. For instance, it may favour a behaviourist approach to learning which seems more oriented towards securing compliance with performance standards than promoting learning and fostering critical, analytical thinking.
Based on the findings presented in this article, there is a need to think about how we conceptualise learning outcomes, what role they play in the governing of educational systems and possible implications for learning. We need to consider future needs and the nature of learning in order to create environments which provide the best possible education for all and thereby increase life perspectives of children and youth.
The article raises questions about the possible danger of limiting learning to behaviouristic approaches and compliance with performance standards. Although the analysis in this article relates to higher education, these arguments are relevant for all levels in the education system. As such, students but also the overall society will benefit from bringing back more holistic approaches to learning in education
We would say that this question mirrors current governing trends in education focusing on the need to define and measure impact and outcomes. The article by Havnes and Prøitz actually questions and criticizes these trends by pointing to implications for educational practices. We would argue that it is not possible to answer this question. Until now, this article has been downloaded 4100 times which could indicate that the topic resonates with many people. We encourage teachers, school leaders and educational authorities as well as researchers to read the article and think about how learning outcomes are conceptualised in the system they work in as well as possible advantages and disadvantages, and not at least for whom there is an advantage or disadvantage.
We think campaigns like this receive lots of attention and thereby they represent a great opportunity to raise important topics and spread important messages which is of general interest and for the public good.
EiCs of Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability