What is Curriculum Design?: A Complete Guide

20 May 2024
Curriculum Design

One of the top educational approaches has been to implement a student-centric system to empower students’ individuality. However, integrating flexibility in teaching and learning without proper planning is counterproductive.

Why? The answer lies in the fact that students might fail to stay on the right track and give in to distractions. That is why curriculum design is an important task that teachers and institutes prioritize to ensure students’s academic development.

What is curriculum design?

Curriculum design is an elaborate, multistep process wherein teachers create schedules and lesson plans. Furthermore, they incorporate classroom activities, assessments, and coursework for a particular academic year.

The curriculum design process relies on the institutes; nevertheless, it includes a framework of three stages: analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation. Most institutes focus on creating a standardized curriculum that ensures high-quality education and holistic development.

In addition, it includes researching and selecting appropriate instructional practices, pedagogical strategies, and assessment methods.

On the other hand, creating a curriculum committee and a curriculum review committee is an equally vital part of the process.

Curriculum Design

Different Types of Curriculum Design

There are three types of curriculum design, and institutes can implement them interchangeably.

  • Subject-Centered Design
  • Learner-Centered Design
  • Problem-Centered Design

Subject-Centered Design

Subject-centered design is a perfect option when teachers need to create a curriculum surrounding a particular subject matter or topic. In fact, the educational material and topic are the focus of the process instead of any learning style.

For example, a math or physics curriculum design is an ideal example, allowing teachers to facilitate information on particular subjects. Also, it is suitable for larger classes, helping students to learn the key points and methods of the core topics.

How MasterSoft's Campus Management System Can Transform Your Institution?

Learner-Centered Design

It is a student-centric design that includes creating a curriculum that caters to the learning needs of the students. Moreover, it includes the following components that aim at addressing individual issues and improving learning:

  • Context: It includes assigning tasks and projects that have real-world applications, enabling students to discover the connection between learning content and the real world.
  • Construction: It includes students’ initiative to express their experiences and prior knowledge with new learning.
  • Collaboration: Teachers conduct classroom activities wherein students get the chance to collaborate with their peers. For example, group discussions and projects help improve students’ capability to work with others.
  • Communication: Teachers incorporate interactive activities that enable students to express their opinions. As a result, they succeed in stating their perspectives clearly and learn to listen to others’s points of view.

Furthermore, student-centered curriculum design is especially effective in the K–12 education program, wherein students encounter varying learning styles. Hence, they can utilize ed-tech tools like the LMS to personalize learning content and assessments.

Problem-Centered Design

One-dimensional education approaches do not fare well with students who have different knowledge and comprehension levels. That is where a problem-centered curriculum design proves to be highly effective.

Initially, teachers need to conduct assessments to determine the issues of individual students and use the curriculum design accordingly. Furthermore, they can use the problem-centered design to simplify subject and core topic explanations.

For instance, it may include exercises and brainstorming sessions that enable students to analyze a problem and find a solution.

Curriculum Design

Stages of Curriculum Design

1. Establishing the purpose

Which subject areas require extra focus? What skills and knowledge must students possess by the end of the academic session? Addressing such questions is the first step in the curriculum design process.

Furthermore, educators concentrate their time and effort in the first stage to assess the educational requirements. Also, it helps them facilitate the program or course effectively by aligning it with educational context, guidelines, and policies.

2. Create a curriculum map

Creating a curriculum map, or the process of curriculum mapping, includes streamlining teaching and learning activities according to a set of criteria. It includes lessons, materials, assessments, etc. Educators can refer to a particular curriculum that entails the following:

  • Skills: These relate to the target abilities that teachers assess, observe, and record through verbs like write and calculate.
  • Assessments: There are different types of examinations that assess student learning.
  • Activities: student-centric or teacher-guided in-classroom exercises and activities to encourage student mastery of skills.
  • Resources: educational materials that teachers utilize to improve students’s understanding of core topics.
  • Essential Questions: Core questions that teachers can ask after completing particular lessons, helping them assess students’ understanding of the content.
  • Units: learning goals and outcomes that students must attain within a term.

Top 5 Use Cases of Generative AI in Education

3. Specify the learning outcomes

Different subjects have different learning outcomes; hence, specifying them will help teachers and students get clarity. Also, while writing the learning outcomes, teachers must use verbs to emphasize the goals.

For example, describe the fundamental concepts and theories that have practical application in daily life.

4. Organize curriculum content

Burdening the students with excess educational content in terms of books and articles is not the best strategy. Why? As it can confuse and intimidate learners, teachers can choose educational resources as per the subject and curriculum needs. Also, they must structure, revamp, and design the curriculum content accordingly.

5. Evaluate and adapt.

Once the curriculum design process has been completed, educators must review the previous stages and their outcomes. Furthermore, a timely evaluation of the design is imperative to determine any inconsistencies and errors. In addition, teachers must also keep track of the following:

  • Determine a class’s overall achievement of goals.
  • Review students’ curriculum fulfillment areas.
  • Identify students’ strengths and weaknesses.
  • Adapt the classroom activities according to students’ learning requirements.

Consequently, it is necessary to adapt the curriculum according to the policies, programs, and student's learning requirements.

What are the advantages of curriculum design?

1. Improves learners’ engagement

When teachers incorporate student-centric activities into the curriculum design and conduct them in the class, it helps to establish a stimulating environment. Furthermore, students participate in various exercises.

For instance, group discussions and interacting with gamified content improve learners’ engagement.

2. Provides a goal-oriented environment

It enables teachers to establish educational goals and learning outcomes, enabling students to stay focused and avoid distractions. Besides, their prior knowledge of outcomes predisposes them to work towards achieving the goals.

3. Tracks Ongoing Student Progress

When teachers develop and conduct formative assessments throughout the term, they can track students’ improvement. Furthermore, they can identify the strong and weak areas of individual students.

4. Identify the student’s requirements

A particular student might excel in a few subject areas while others might not, and vice versa. Therefore, identifying students’ requirements or learning needs is essential, which is what the curriculum design helps teachers do.

In addition, teachers can also plan to implement the student-centered or subject-centered curriculum design accordingly.

Bottom Line,

Education must be equitable and accessible to all students, which is not possible without proper teaching and learning processes. Hence, curriculum design is an important process that helps to evaluate pedagogies, student progress, and assessments.

It enables educators to specify learning outcomes and ensure that students are on the right track to fulfill them.

Click for a digitally empowered campus

Gaurav Somani Author :

Gaurav Somani,

Academic Consultant

You May Also Read

 AI in education
Impact of AI and Automation on Higher Education
Read More

Learning Experience Platform

The Future with Next-Gen AI-Driven LXPs
Read More
Top 5 Use Cases of Generative AI in Education
Top 5 Use Cases of Generative AI in Education
Read More

Empowering Global Education

Empowering Global Education: Unveiling Generative....
Read More