Curriculum Development: Process and Models

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  • 0:01 Curriculum Development Defined
  • 1:22 Content-Driven Curriculum
  • 2:28 Student-Driven Curriculum
  • 3:28 Purpose-Driven Curriculum
  • 6:03 Curriculum Researchers
  • 7:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maryalice Leister

Maryalice has taught secondary and college English and trained new online teachers, and has a master's degree in Online Teaching and Learning.

In this lesson, learn about curriculum development and explore different types of curricula. Also, learn some important terms as well as discover researchers that have contributed a lot to this field.

Curriculum Development Defined

Curriculum development is both a formal and informal process. Often emerging from necessity as learners demonstrate a critical need or a high degree of interest, most curricula begin as outlines of key points using traditional content. These key points are then expanded to include domains, sub-domains, and recommended texts, timelines, and activities in an orderly, sequenced system.

Let's take a look at Mrs. Carroll, who has students working through a literature unit focused on plot, protagonist, and antagonist. As she works to ensure students know the definitions and can identify the terms in various assigned readings, she notices Sarah, a student who often disconnects in class, has slipped out an Avengers comic book and is paging through the story.

'You like comics, Sarah?' she asks, startling Sarah into looking up.

Sarah blushes and mumbles an apology, but Mrs. Carroll isn't intent on disciplining. Rather, she senses a teachable moment and an excellent reason to shift the curriculum.

'It's okay, Sarah. While that isn't what I expected to focus on teaching about this unit, let's explore how plot, protagonist, and antagonist are indeed part of comics. We also can include graphic novels, which are based on literature and have added sequential pictures.' Mrs. Carroll smiles as she makes that important student connection, and Sarah breathes a sigh of relief.

Content-Driven Curriculum

Content curriculum, also known as subject-driven curriculum, is the best-known model, most often based on selected textbooks that the teacher, school, or stakeholders feel address the required grade-level standards. The intention of this curriculum is comprehensive coverage of a subject; a good example is a high school or collegiate program leading to a degree. Institutions strive to guarantee relevant content has been covered in an organized and consistent program.

Institutions recognize that a linear approach, often viewed as textbook cover-to-cover curriculum, limits the student's more realistic interdisciplinary learning. Modifications in all course curricula allow teachers to guide the learners in a more integrated view of the world and future careers with work spanning relevant discipline areas. For instance, angle and three-dimensional studies in geometry take on easily-understood, applied usage when students work with the architectural or building trades departments to put theories into practice.

Student-Driven Curriculum

A student-driven curriculum centers on the strengths and choices of learners and allows for more integrated and relevant connections. This approach takes into account the needs and interests of students and is often altered and redirected as new levels of understanding emerge. Rather than follow sequential textbook chapters to accomplish content, student-driven curriculum shifts with the needs of the student.

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