Curriculum Design

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Curriculum Design

  • Arrangement of curriculum elements into a substantive entity.
  • Basic curriculum components:
    • Aim, goals, and objectives
    • Subject matter
    • Learning experiences
    • Evaluation
    • Emphasis on different components shape the design of the curriculum.
    • Taba believes that most curriculum lack balance because –
      • the components are poorly defined, or
      • they not considered within a theoretical framework
    • When curriculum are planned those who construct the curriculum may place differing emphases on these components parts.
    • Usually more emphasis is placed on the subject matter.
    • Sometimes “fashion” exerts a disproportionate influence on a curriculum, i.e., TQM, customer service, SOL’s, basics, etc.

    Horizontal and Vertical Organizations

    • Horizontal – Scope and integration (subjects)
    • Vertical – Sequence and continuity (corporate)Curriculum Design vs Instructional Design
      • Curriculum Design – The total plan that arranges the four components into the curriculum, i.e., objectives, content, learning experiences and evaluation).
      • Instructional Design – Refers specifically to one component, the potential experiences for the student, learning activities (methods and organization).

      Sources of Curriculum Design

      • Science as Source
      • Society as Source
      • Eternal and Devine Sources
      • Knowledge as a Source
      • The Learner as a Source

      Science as a Source

      • The scientific method provides meaning for the curriculum design.
      • Only those items that can be observed and quantified should be included.
      • Problem-solving should have the prime position in the curriculum, i.e., stress thinking.
      • Procedural knowledge or knowledge of process.
      • The curriculum teaches rational processes for dealing with reality.

      Society as a Source

      • Curriculum is an agent of society.
      • Curriculum are designed to serve the broad social interests of society, as well as the local community.
      • Support is shown for society as a curriculum source since the universe is becoming, rather than existing for our detached scientific viewing.
      • Society shows where to modify the curriculum.

      External and Devine Sources

      • Curriculum design should be intended to perpetuate society.
      • It should pass on the significance of people’s values and personal morality.
      • Devine will, eternal truth from the Bible.
      • Today these sources are reflected through the curriculum designer’s values and personal morality.

      Knowledge as a Source

      • One of the prime sources of curriculum.
      • Disciplined knowledge has a particular structure and a particular method(s) used to extend its boundaries.
      • Disciplined vs Undisciplined Knowledge
        • Disciplined = unique
        • Undisciplined = various (training)

      The Learner as a Source

      • Curriculum is derived from what we know about the learner.
      • We draw much from the psychological foundations.
      • Based on cognitive research.
      • Emphasizes “learning by doing”.

      Side Note

      • Even though decisions are essential, it appears that curricula are not the result of careful design deliberations.
      • Overall curriculum designs receive little attention both in schools and corporations.
      • Curriculum design is left to specialists in subject matter areas.

      Curricular Dimensions

      • Scope
      • Integration
      • Sequence
      • Continuity
      • Articulation
      • Balance


      • Breadth
      • Content, topics, and learning experiences


      • Linking all the knowledge and experience within the curriculum.
      • Assists in making meaning for the learner.


      • Ordering of knowledge
      • Vertical relationships, i.e.,
      • Simple to complex
      • Prerequisite
      • Whole to part
      • Chronological


      • Recurring and continuing opportunity to practice skill development.


      • Interrelatedness of various aspects of the curriculum.
      • “Lost knowledge” – just taught but not related to other learning or lessons.


      • Appropriate weight be given to each aspect of the design.

      Representative Curriculum Designs

      • Student-Centered Designs – content and/or processes.
      • Learner-Centered Designs – based on students’ lives – interests, needs, and empowerment.
      • Problem-Centered Designs – focuses on problems of living and society (i.e., work, etc.)


      • Curriculum design should possess internal consistency –
        • Cohesiveness
        • Coherence

      Instructional Systems Design (ISD)

      • The basic premise is that training is most effective when the trainees are provided a specific statement of what they must do and how their performance will be evaluated.
      • The instruction is then developed to teach learners through either hands-on or performance-based instruction.
      • The assumption is that a trainee can be taught to perform to a specified level or standard if the instruction is presented on small enough segments, is interactive, and is performance oriented.
        • American Society for Training and Development, March 1988, Issue 803

      Instructional Systems Design Model (ISD)

      • Analysis
      • Design
      • Development
      • Implementation
      • Evaluation

      ISD – Analysis

      • Gathers information to determine –
        • if training is the organizational response to the problem.
        • what the training should accomplish.
        • groups needing training.
        • resources available.
        • other needed information related to training.

      ISD – Design (curriculum)

      • Prepares the developer for selecting and writing program materials –
        write program objectives.
      • Develop test items.
      • Establish design structure and sequence.

      ISD – Development (instructional design)

      • The developer prepares training program –
        • Training materials support objectives.
        • Media selection appropriate to objectives.
        • Evaluation forms are prepared.
        • Documentation tracks participants progress.
        • Course documented.

      ISD – Implementation (instruction)

      • Actual instruction carried out –
        • Instructors selected.
        • Classes held.
        • Problems recorded.
        • Program revised up to implementation.

      ISD – Evaluation

      • Evaluation of training program
      • Evaluation carried out.
      • Use data to revise training program.

      Competency-Based Education Model

      • A system of education designed to develop prespecified, role relevant competence in those who are to be products of the system.
        • Writing Competency-Based Frameworks, VVCRC

      CBE Components

      • Duty Area
      • Task/Competency
      • Performance Objectives (conditions, performance and standard)
      • Performance Measures
      • Enabling Objectives
      • Instructional Activities
      • Resources

      Duty Area

      • Represents a category of job responsibilities, a grouping of similar tasks, i.e., baking in catering course.

      Task or Competency

      • Describes a measurable item of knowledge, skill, or behavior related to the occupational area, i.e., ordering staples in a baking unit.

      Performance Objectives

      • Explains what the student must do to demonstrate that he or she has mastered this task/competency.
      • Tells the student
        • under what conditions the performance will take place
        • exactly what performance is required
        • how well the student must perform as a minimum standard.

      Performance Measures

      • Tells how the student performance will be assessed.

      Enabling Objectives

      • Offers suggested steps leading to mastery of the performance objective, including
        • subskills
        • related skills
        • supporting concepts
        • related knowledge
        • theory behind a psychomotor skill
        • reinforcement of prior learning
        • parts of the performance required

      Instructional Activities

      • Presents suggested assignments contributing to the student’s mastery, including such activities as –
        • group projects
        • individual projects
        • written work
        • oral work
        • critical thinking activities
        • demonstrations/simulations
        • audiovisual presentations
        • projects
        • experiments


      • nLists a variety of aids for teaching the task/competency
        • audiovisuals
        • printed materials

      Selection of a Model

      • All use Foundations as specified by Ritz Model (due March 22)
      • Select Model for Remainder of Curriculum (Due April 19)
      • Ritz Model
      • ISD Model (Design Component)
      • CBE Model

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