What is Curriculum Development?

A critical component of any educational system is curriculum development, the process by which improvements are made to learning strategies based on the changing needs of society. In order to most effectively meet the needs of each generation of students, updates are necessary. Thus, there is an entire profession dedicated to the design and implementation of educational content.

About Curriculum Development

Whether it’s the early learning of the formative preschool years or the advanced coursework of higher education, the curriculum being taught must constantly evolve with regard to best practices relevant to the subject matter as well as to the progression of cultural development. Curriculum development is a process that is also used in corporate training environments and other settings in which theories, procedures, policies and general information are to be taught. In order to be effective, there are a number of recommended components in the development of curriculum, according to the ACSD.

Curriculum Design Process

Good curriculum design must address a number of aspects within the learning paradigm. First, identification of the target audience must be made. The content of a particular lesson will certainly vary when the audience is a group of first graders versus a class made up of college students, even if the subject matter is the same. Goals and objectives must then be determined to guide the material. Your goal will be a statement of what you hope students will be able to do or perform after receiving instruction. Objectives involve the steps taken to reach a goal. An instructional strategy that matches the developmental needs and learning style of an audience is also a necessary part of good curriculum development. Some examples include such methods as lecture, cooperative learning, demonstration or group discussion. An easily forgotten component is the logistics of a lesson plan. Aspects like location of class, equipment needed and student limitations must be considered.

Assessment and Evaluation in Curriculum Development

When teaching a lesson or a training seminar, there should always be an assessment given in order to determine each student or participant’s level of understanding. Designing this assessment should be directly related to your original goals and objectives. People often think of a written exam as the most common type of assessment. However, another method may make more sense based on the kind of lesson you are teaching and the goals you’ve put in place. Other types of assessment may include a project, oral defense, group presentation or term paper. While the assessment provides insight into the knowledge of the students, it is the evaluation that will tell whether your efforts in creating a successful curriculum were on track. Evaluation invites feedback from the students. With this information, you can make necessary adjustments to your material to account for aspects that may not have gone according to plan or that the students did not understand.

Related Resource: How Can You Specialize in a Master’s in Education in Special Education?

When it comes to teaching material to students, no matter what their age or ability, an educator cannot rely on the same materials over time. Lessons must evolve in order to meet changing dynamics within the subject matter and society at large. Curriculum development is the process that is used to ensure that education remains current.