The curriculum design process takes information from a subject matter expert and, through much iteration, creates instruction. But how does information from an expert get translated into educational content that is effective for learners? It goes through four steps of design. In each step are important team members including project managers, instructional designers, writers, copy editors, and subject matter experts. The team works together to create effective content. Let’s have a look at the four steps in the curriculum design process.
- Gathering Information
The first step of the design process involves planning and determining who the learner is and what they need to get out of the material. The team begins by initially identifying what the scope is. This involves asking questions like:
- Who will take the course?
- What does the learner already know?
- What is their attitude towards the subject?
Instructional designers then work with the subject matter expert and obtain the necessary information by asking many questions. With information in hand and a clear idea of the audience, the team moves on to the second step.
Now that the team has extracted the information and identified the learner, it is time to begin designing the content. Before designing the content, there needs to be clear objectives. Clear objectives include action words such as:
As the instructional designers create the objectives, they carefully connect them to the content. The objectives are measurable, which ensures that learning outcomes can occur. The team examines the environment in which the content will be used. They ask questions such as: will the learners be accessing the material on their mobile phones or in a classroom?
The team plans how to sequence the content and what delivery method to use. They perform research, search for appropriate materials, and decide what graphics to use.
- Building the Content
The content can now be built into a workable instructional unit. The team combines written material with newly created graphics and, if needed, animation. As the material is being built, there is constant communication between team members. Copy editors work to keep the content consistent by ensuring the work is in the correct style and lines up with the learning objectives. Instructional designers check that the material will lead to measurable outcomes. Multiple iterations occur as material is discussed between team members.
The final step is evaluation. Although the material has gone through multiple iterations, it is evaluated once more. You could say that step four is present throughout each of the prior steps. Each team member from the beginning is constantly evaluating the material and ensuring that it serves the learner well. The learning objectives are matched against the material to ensure that the material will lead to measurable results. The project manager tracks changes by all team members and ensures that the necessary edits and revisions are being made.
It takes a team to design excellent curriculum. Each step involves collaboration and constant iterations of the material. As a result of this teamwork and dedication to the learner, it is possible to build curriculum that leads to desired learning outcomes.