The increase of technology in education and the sheer diversity in students, higher education institutions, and teachers make curriculum development very important in addressing curriculum development and standardizing the quality, value, and concepts of education with curriculum design. Principles of curriculum development and developing a curriculum means understanding the objective, types, strategies of curriculum development , and design guidelines of curriculum development which is what this article is about.

  1. Create positive improvements
  2. Types of curriculum development
  3. Curriculum Design

1. Create positive improvements

Curriculum development is a step-wise positive improvement process in creating higher education courses. Many factors affecting curriculum development like changes in the world, design approaches, new perspectives, and development of profiles, research, professions, personal influences, and more affect the curriculum development approach. It is important that curriculum development stages in positive improvements, which get cast on curriculum development to accommodate and use such positive influences and shifts in its implementation.

2. Types of curriculum development

To achieve the outcomes of student learning and optimal development of students, curriculum development comprises several organizational methods and the various types of strategies used in curriculum development processes to instruct students and implement organizational methods for a focused outcome. The two types of curriculum design are

  • The process model is more about the learning process and is amenable or open-ended, focusing on time used on curriculum development and learning components.
  • The product Model is results/ grades oriented. The focus lies not on the learning process but depends on the outcomes of the finished product.

The curriculum development types often need to strike a fine-balance that includes a combination of different strategies targeted towards meeting student needs and following the framework guidelines laid out to measure student outcomes and have met their educational needs. All students are unique, and so are their learning needs, resource requirements, teaching time required, and so on. The concept of development requires that the objectives of learning are also met. Thus at times and especially in educational needs addressable at higher levels, curriculum development becomes a challenge. Further, the desired outcome must be considered as learning by rote, and transitioning into real-world situations is like transitioning between two boats on a choppy sea.  

Higher education course leaders are provided with an institutional framework with principles, guidelines etc., as a reference aid to the concept of curriculum development and then fashion their delivery of lessons around. Teachers are required to ensure the materials used are modern, comprehensible and directed towards meeting the educational needs of students and the objectives of curriculum development.

The expected curriculum development outcomes for teachers are to demonstrate and use the following steps of curriculum development.

  • Content knowledge 
  • Resource knowledge
  • Goals for instructional strategy
  • Coherent design of lessons/instructions
  • Student needs and knowledge
  • Student learning assessments.

3. Curriculum Design

The curriculum is set out to garner attitudes, skills, and knowledge before one can move to the next instructional level. In designing a curriculum within the framework provided, teachers have to meet the desired requirements to ensure they meet the requirements and outcomes desired in curriculum development.

The 3 types of models of curriculum development or curriculum design methods used are

  • Learner-centred design is focused on student learning, goals, interests, needs, etc. A standardized curriculum typically doesn’t meet these goals with a uniform curriculum for all student needs. Hence the need for instructional plans and types of curriculum development that are differentiated with assignments, learning experiences, teachers, etc., selected as per student choices with the specific goal of motivating and engaging students with the curricula. This method suffers from time constraints in teaching, finding appropriate resources for every need, and balancing outcomes to match both the institution and students’ requirements.
  • Subject-centred design is focused on a specific discipline or subject. Ex: Communication, e-marketing, etc. The focus is not the student but the characteristics of curriculum development and the topic being taught. It is perhaps the most standard form of curriculum development in higher education. The major issue here is that motivational learning and student engagement suffer.
  • Problem-centred design is focused on teaching students to identify, find solutions for and resolve problems. The authentic learning form occurs on a real-time and real-life issue to develop transferable skills in students transitioning into real-world problems. Though it is geared to increase creativity and curriculum relevance, it does not always address curriculum development challenges to provide individual learning.


In modern times the proliferation of technology and information in almost all fields means that teachers have to involve themselves in curriculum development cogently bringing value into its framework, design, and development. The task and importance of curriculum development with its guidelines involve ensuring curriculum development is directed towards students and teachers alike.

With technology upgrading resources available for the learning process, there has been a paradigm shift towards a combination of teaching types. This is meant to encourage students to learn experientially and satisfy their specific needs through project development aligned with the curricula. Another issue is that time-constraints exerted on the learning times can deter the student’s learning process.  Thus the development of the curricula is walking a tight-rope for most teachers.

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