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How D2L Achievement+ Supports Effective OBE Programs

  • 5 Min Read

We take a closer look at the benefits of outcome-based learning and share how D2L Achievement+ can help institutions and organizations achieve their goals.


In traditional education, grading tests and exams has been the primary way to assess learner progress. However, we now recognize that success extends beyond a mere pass or fail assessment of curriculum material. Some educators argue that the ability to apply competencies in the real world is just as important. Outcome-based education allows educators and learners to identify the learning outcomes of a course or program and whether learners have achieved it. In this blog, we’ll be exploring what outcome-based education is, discuss common challenges universities and associations face with OBE and offer solutions.  

What is Outcome-Based Education?  

Outcome-based education is an educational approach that centers around students, focusing on what they need to know, understand, and demonstrate, and how to apply these skills beyond the classroom. 

Rather than simply focusing on covering a set curriculum, providing a single grade that determines whether they pass or fail, OBE is more practical. It emphasizes what students should know and be able to do at the end of a course and provides a view of which outcomes were achieved and to what degree.  

For example, in a human anatomy course, an outcome might be for students to demonstrate the ability to identify all the major arteries in the human hand and then demonstrate that knowledge by labeling them on a cadaver.

How Effective is OBE? 

OBE has been shown to provide value across a range of subjects and learning institutions.  

A 2020 study analyzed ten undergraduate business programs at a Malaysian private higher education institution. The researchers found that implementing OBE improved student learning performance and deepened their understanding. It also encouraged the continuous curricula improvement and highlighted the importance of data-driven decision making.  

Another review, published in Nurse Education Today found that nursing students’ competencies were positively impacted by OBE interventions. The students demonstrated improvements in knowledge acquisition, nursing skills and attitudes (primary outcome measures) and showed a reduced cognitive load, as well as higher thinking abilities and increased learner satisfaction (secondary outcomes measures). 

Challenges With Reporting on OBE for Higher Ed Institutions

Despite OBE’s value, higher education institutions still face challenges when it comes to demonstrating its effectiveness.  

Lack of an All-in-one Platform 

There are several higher education institutions that want to deliver great OBE programs and be able to report on the results. The challenge is finding an easy-to-use solution that can do this at a course and program level that’s also accessible to various role types (admins, program coordinators, faculty, instructors, students).   

Accreditation Reporting 

All accredited higher ed institutions in North America and most international institutions have accreditation reporting needs at either the institution or program level enforced by external accrediting agencies. These accreditation reporting needs require achievement reporting (breakdown of learners who achieve/do not achieve certain program outcomes) and alignment reporting (how course outcomes and assessments align with program outcomes).  

Program and Learning Improvements  

Higher ed institutions are sometimes required to report on how students within a program are performing against program learning outcomes. This information can help inform areas that require curriculum improvement to support student success. This comparative analysis of achievement data over time can also help demonstrate the impact of program or curriculum changes on student success.

Challenges That Associations and Organizations Face With OBE 

OBE isn’t reserved for universities and colleges. With the growing number of corporate and association training programs, it has its place in employee and workforce education too. But these organizations have their own unique challenges. 


Membership and learning managers and leaders have a necessity to track learning results from educational programs across their association or organization. The problem is that doing so across different systems is time-consuming, resulting in a lengthy and often manual process of exporting, analyzing and visualizing data using several tools.  


Cost is also a challenge for associations and organizations. To get the reporting needed to make data informed decisions so that they can share this information with stakeholders, they’re required to purchase expensive third-party services or tools. 

A Streamlined Solution for OBE: D2L Achievement+ 

Although their educational programs are designed and delivered differently, higher educational institutions and associations alike can benefit from utilizing D2L Achievement+. An add-on package to D2L’s Brightspace Core, D2L Achievement+ is an easy-to-use tool that makes incorporating OBE into learning seamless. Let’s take a closer look.  

D2L Achievement+ lets you: 

  • Easily manage learning outcomes across your institution, program and courses within Brightspace.  
  • Empower instructors to align course content, activities and assessments to learning outcomes with intuitive interfaces and workflows.  
  • Simplify your achievement reporting with a dashboard of centralized outcome achievement data to support accreditation reporting.  
  • Access interactive visualizations to boost insight realization for continual learning improvement. 
  • Course achievement overview to empower instructors with real-time achievement data within their course.
D2L’s Achievement+ Outcome Achievement Dashboard in action

D2L Achievement+: Your OBE Engine 

The benefits of implementing OBE at higher education and corporate learning environments are clear. But to reap the rewards, institutions and companies require the right set of tools to accurately help them report, continuously improve learning outcomes, save time and reduce costs. D2L Achievement+ solves these pain points and empowers institutes to deliver seamless OBE learning experiences to their students.

Ready to start your OBE journey? Let’s talk 

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Table of Contents

  1. What is Outcome-Based Education?  
  2. How Effective is OBE? 
  3. Challenges With Reporting on OBE for Higher Ed Institutions
  4. A Streamlined Solution for OBE: D2L Achievement+ 
  5. D2L Achievement+: Your OBE Engine