Curriculum Design Introduction, Definition & Features

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 02:26 -- Umar Farooq


Curriculum design is seen differently by different people. However, it depends from where one is viewing the process. For example, in the classroom, the teacher is concerned with the design associated with mathematics. language arts, social studies etc. The principal views design from the position of one charged with developing an overall policy for the schools. The director will interpret design differently again, possibly on a broader front.


However, the curriculum is "made all things to all men".

"To a large extend this is inevitable and need not he disastrous so long as it is the same basic curriculum that each member of staff is interpreting, that procedures are instituted whereby its progress is discussed and monitored regularly at all levels and that it is recognized that far more than the academic content of a syllabus is involved". Warwick

The contents of the curriculum depend entirely upon whether both curriculum strategy and instructional strategy are to be encompassed in the curriculum design and there does not seem to be a way of avoiding this decision.

It is logical for the two means of achieving the ends of schooling to be conceived as two sets of strategies. They are closely related but are two different sets. One set is conceptualized around the answers reached in respect to the question i.e. what shall we teach in school(s)? The expression of those answers may he termed as the curriculum design. The second set, the instructional strategies, is conceptualized around individual teachers and groups of pupils in response to the general question such as - flow shall he teach?

A sequence of events running from the development of curriculum strategy, to the instructional strategy, to the actual activities of pupils in classrooms or elsewhere is thus a logical one. The strategies are interrelated. However, none of these strategies is pupil learning, these take place as a result of the strategies.

The curriculum designer should plan strategies only in anticipation of learning activities and outcomes. In contrast, curriculum theorists or workers who think of curriculum strategy, instructional strategy or classroom activities as a single ball of wax called curriculum, pose an entirely different problem in curriculum design. Curriculum design then includes an arrangement of objectives, subject matter chosen, specific action plans for teaching, all forms-of instructional materials to he used, time schedules, activity descriptions and so forth. If one goes further and includes what pupils learn as part of curriculum, then components of evaluation also have to he added.


Beauchamp (1968) indicated that design which incorporates all of this is complex. It is true. Nevertheless, the question should not he to plan, hut how best to plan. Such comments should be taken seriously particularly when the product is a written plan of action. However, the curriculum design should incorporate the following features: ‑

  1. Content to he taught.
  2. A statement of goals and objectives.
  3. Ways in which the objectives will he attained.
  4. An appraisal scheme for determining the work of the students.
  5. Determining the adequacy of the curriculum.