What drives an effective curriculum development and design process?

In the many years in which I have led various initiatives related to curriculum development and program design, I have come to realize that certain drivers must be in place to ensure success. Below, I share my top three strategies to ensure a successful curriculum design.

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Driver One: Understand Curriculum Elements

Be mindful that curriculum involves several facets, each important in presenting a solid and viable way for supporting instruction and learning.

There are three important questions to consider:

  1. What is the purpose or intent? (often defined through a needs analysis)
  2. Who is the audience? (consider instructors and learners)
  3. What is the appropriate methodology? (think about teaching and learning strategies and assessment)

Driver Two: Establish the Approach and Structure of the Development Process

Crucial to the development process is having the involvement of experts, those with knowledge of the discipline/field (sometimes referred to as subject matter experts – SMEs), and experienced pedagogues who know the audience and sound instructional practice. This expertise affirms the content, guides the methodology used, and provides advice during the review process. Hand-in-hand with this process is the design or how the various components will be presented so that what is produced addresses the goals set for the program.

Driver Three: Unleash the Power of Respectful Collaboration

In order to capitalize on the skills and knowledge of those involved in the development process and to foster team learning, collaboration is key. I recognize that my role during these collaborations is to guide the efforts of the educators and other experts who are contributing to the project by encouraging them to think more broadly and deeply while respecting their expertise and capitalizing on their experience. The contributors often comment on the professional growth resulting from their involvement in these initiatives. In the process, I grow in my understanding of what learning is and in my continued professional growth!

By Pauline Beggs

Pauline B&W PortraitPauline is a former teacher who has worked for more than 35 years in the area of learning resources development and implementation across Canada. Pauline is responsible for the development of learning resources and for recruiting and training various subject experts to be evaluators. Pauline has been with CSC since 1997.

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