This blog will explain what curriculum development is. Why is it important for teachers? I also will explain three types of curriculum design.
create positive improvements
Curriculum development can be defined as a kind of step-by-step process used to create positive improvements in the courses offered in higher education. The world changes, approaches and profiles develop and new perspectives on research and professions influences the curricula. Innovative teaching techniques and strategies, such as transformative learning or blended learning, are constantly being devised in order to improve the student learning experience. As a result, an institution has to have a plan in place for acknowledging these shifts and then be able to implement them in the curricula.
types of curriculum development
Curriculum development involves the implementation of different types of instructional strategies and organizational methods that are focused on achieving optimal student development and student learning outcomes.
Current curriculum types can be broken down into two broad categories: the product model and the process model. The product model is results-oriented. Grades are the prime objective, with the focus lying more on the finished product rather than on the learning process.
The process model is more open-ended, and focuses on how learning develops over a period of time. These two models need to be taken into account when developing a curriculum.
Each course leader at an (higher education) institution will have guidelines, principles and a framework that teachers are required to reference as they build their lessons. Teachers are responsible for ensuring that their lesson planning meets the students’ educational needs, the desired outcomes of the curriculum and that the materials used are current and comprehensible. But besides all the expected aims and outcomes of curricula teachers do a great job when they:
- demonstrate knowledge of content;
- demonstrate the knowledge of students;
- select suitable instructional strategy goals;
- demonstrate knowledge of resources;
- design coherent instruction;
- assess student learning.
Remember that a curriculum contains the knowledge, skills and attitudes that a student needs to master in order to get a degree or move to the next level. By thinking about how their curriculum is designed, teachers ensure they’ve covered all the necessary requirements. From there, they can start exploring various approaches and teaching methods that can help them achieve their goals. There are three basic types of curriculum design: subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered design.
Subject-centered curriculum design revolves around a particular subject or discipline, such as e-marketing, research skills or communication. This type of curriculum design tends to focus on the subject, rather than the student. It is the most common type of standardized curriculum that can be found in higher education. Subject-centered curriculum design is not student-centered, and the model is less concerned with individual learning compared to other forms of curriculum design. This can lead to problems with student engagement and motivation and may cause students who are not responsive to this model to fall behind.
Learner-centered curriculum design revolves around student needs, interests and goals. It acknowledges that students are not uniform and therefore should not be subject to a standardized curriculum. This approach aims to empower learners to shape their education through choices.
Differentiated instructional plans provide an opportunity to select assignments, teaching and learning experiences and activities. This form of curriculum design has been shown to engage and motivate students. The drawback to this form of curriculum design is that it can create pressure on the teachers to source materials specific to each student’s learning needs. This can be challenging due to teaching time constraints. Balancing individual student interests with the institution’s required outcomes could prove to be a daunting task.
Problem-centered curriculum design teaches students how to look at a problem and formulate a solution. Considered an authentic form of learning because students are exposed to real-life issues, this model helps students develop skills that are transferable to the real world. Problem-centered curriculum design has been shown to increase the relevance of the curriculum and encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration in the classroom. The drawback to this format is that it does not always consider individual learning.
Developing, designing and implementing a curriculum is no easy task. With the rise of educational technology and the diverse types of students attending higher educational institutions these days, teachers have their work cut out for them. But by following the fundamental guidelines and framework of curriculum development, teachers will be setting themselves and their students up for long-term success.