5 Steps to Effective Curriculum Planning

Pros and Cons of Computerized Adaptive Testing

The idea of curriculum planning seems overwhelming. There are so many moving parts and spinning pieces that it seems complicated. However, the key to successful curriculum planning is in the very name: planning.

Curriculum planning becomes easier if these five steps are planned for.

Step 1:  Who?

The first step to curriculum planning is identifying the learners. Identifying the learners helps you plan the curriculum to meet their needs. For example, beginning data science students need a slower pace and a focus on important terms. In contrast, advanced data science students feel more comfortable applying theories to problems. Knowing how to meet learners’ needs will shape the pacing and content of the curriculum.

Step 2: Where?

Where learners experience the lessons is decided mostly by who they are as learners.  Adult learners with full-time jobs might prefer taking courses online. On the other hand, high school students taking advanced credit classes may find face-to-face classes more convenient. An instructional designer like A Pass Education can help make an informed decision. In addition, the instructional designer can answer additional questions about delivery and strategize course elements.

Step 3: What?

The next element is learner outcomes, or what the learners will know after completing the curriculum. These goals should be concrete and easy to measure. An outcome that says “Learners will understand basic concepts” is too vague. Instead, a concrete and measurable outcome for this same goal might be “Learners will identify and explain in their own words ten basic concepts described in given scenarios.”

Step 4: Why?

The reason for learning a specific idea or skill is at the heart of curriculum planning.  Just like the learner outcomes, the reasons behind them should be concrete. For instance, learners need to know how to apply data science terms so they can communicate ideas to other data scientists. If the reason for a learner outcome is not clear, then it needs to be revisited. On the other hand, one learner outcome can have several reasons.

Step 5: When?

In terms of curriculum planning, “when” refers to the order of lessons. In other words, how will lessons build on each other? This is where the science of curriculum planning becomes an art. The order of lessons considers what learners already know and what they will need to know. Sometimes the learner needs to learn multiple concepts at once before moving to the next point. These have to be organized carefully so the learner moves efficiently through the course.

Final Thought

Though curriculum planning can be challenging when looked at as a whole, it is much easier when broken into these five steps. Sometimes it is helpful to have an expert like A Pass Education help with any curriculum planning. However, anyway it is done, planning in steps will make it easier.


Interested in discussing how A Pass can help with creating your next curriculum?

Who is A Pass?

A Pass Educational Group, LLC is an organization dedicated to the development of quality educational resources. We partner with publishers, K-12 schools, higher ed institutions, corporations, and other educational stakeholders to create custom quality content. Have questions?

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