What is a Curricular Design?

what why for whom results

The design of a course or group of related courses consists of a curricular design and a supportive instructional design.

A curriculum is a set of subjects. A curricular design is created by stakeholders and subject-matter experts who decide what set of subjects (both information and skill-based) will be incorporated into a course, along with reasoning as to why that information and skillset were selected for a given set of learners. In other words, the curricular design is a blueprint of what will be taught, why it should be taught, and for whom. Stakeholders and subject–matter experts also identify the indicators of what successful learning will look like. Curricular design involves identifying a need for a particular knowledge or skill set for a particular group of people, creating learning objectives, and identifying success indicators. In other words, the curricular design ties the what, why, and for whom of a course to desired results.

For example, a community college dean may be concerned that although her students are graduating with marketable skills, they lack information and skills regarding self-promotion, according to a recent student survey. This dean has identified a learning need for job-search skills, information regarding headhunters and job search engines, resume-building skills, and interviewing techniques and practices. To assist her with designing a curriculum that would satisfy these needs, the dean pulls in a career coach as a subject-matter expert. This coach gathers all the information students may need from varied resources. He identifies the exact information and skill set that students from this community college should have in order to improve their employment potential. Using data from the survey, together the career coach and the dean decide that successful learning in this course should be measured by assessing any differences in the rate of hire of these students compared to others at their college who did not take the course.

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