Old Dominion University
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John Ritz







Curriculum Design

  • Arrangement of curriculum elements into a substantive entity.
  • Basic curriculum components:
    • Aim, goals, and objectives
    • Subject matter
    • Learning experiences
    • Evaluation

  • Emphasis on different components shape the design of the curriculum.
  • Taba believes that most curriculum lack balance because -
    • the components are poorly defined, or
    • they not considered within a theoretical framework
  • When curriculum are planned those who construct the curriculum may place differing emphases on these components parts.
  • Usually more emphasis is placed on the subject matter.
  • Sometimes "fashion" exerts a disproportionate influence on a curriculum, i.e., TQM, customer service, SOL's, basics, etc.

Horizontal and Vertical Organizations

  • Horizontal - Scope and integration (subjects)
  • Vertical - Sequence and continuity (corporate)

Curriculum Design vs Instructional Design

  • Curriculum Design - The total plan that arranges the four components into the curriculum, i.e., objectives, content, learning experiences and evaluation).
  • Instructional Design - Refers specifically to one component, the potential experiences for the student, learning activities (methods and organization).

Sources of Curriculum Design

  • Science as Source
  • Society as Source
  • Eternal and Devine Sources
  • Knowledge as a Source
  • The Learner as a Source

Science as a Source

  • The scientific method provides meaning for the curriculum design.
  • Only those items that can be observed and quantified should be included.
  • Problem-solving should have the prime position in the curriculum, i.e., stress thinking.
  • Procedural knowledge or knowledge of process.
  • The curriculum teaches rational processes for dealing with reality.

Society as a Source

  • Curriculum is an agent of society.
  • Curriculum are designed to serve the broad social interests of society, as well as the local community.
  • Support is shown for society as a curriculum source since the universe is becoming, rather than existing for our detached scientific viewing.
  • Society shows where to modify the curriculum.

External and Devine Sources

  • Curriculum design should be intended to perpetuate society.
  • It should pass on the significance of people's values and personal morality.
  • Devine will, eternal truth from the Bible.
  • Today these sources are reflected through the curriculum designer's values and personal morality.

Knowledge as a Source

  • One of the prime sources of curriculum.
  • Disciplined knowledge has a particular structure and a particular method(s) used to extend its boundaries.
  • Disciplined vs Undisciplined Knowledge
    • Disciplined = unique
    • Undisciplined = various (training)

The Learner as a Source

  • Curriculum is derived from what we know about the learner.
  • We draw much from the psychological foundations.
  • Based on cognitive research.
  • Emphasizes "learning by doing".

Side Note

  • Even though decisions are essential, it appears that curricula are not the result of careful design deliberations.
  • Overall curriculum designs receive little attention both in schools and corporations.
  • Curriculum design is left to specialists in subject matter areas.

Curricular Dimensions

  • Scope
  • Integration
  • Sequence
  • Continuity
  • Articulation
  • Balance


  • Breadth
  • Content, topics, and learning experiences


  • Linking all the knowledge and experience within the curriculum.
  • Assists in making meaning for the learner.


  • Ordering of knowledge
  • Vertical relationships, i.e.,
  • Simple to complex
  • Prerequisite
  • Whole to part
  • Chronological


  • Recurring and continuing opportunity to practice skill development.


  • Interrelatedness of various aspects of the curriculum.
  • "Lost knowledge" - just taught but not related to other learning or lessons.


  • Appropriate weight be given to each aspect of the design.

Representative Curriculum Designs

  • Student-Centered Designs - content and/or processes.
  • Learner-Centered Designs - based on students' lives - interests, needs, and empowerment.
  • Problem-Centered Designs - focuses on problems of living and society (i.e., work, etc.)


  • Curriculum design should possess internal consistency -
    • Cohesiveness
    • Coherence

Instructional Systems Design (ISD)

  • The basic premise is that training is most effective when the trainees are provided a specific statement of what they must do and how their performance will be evaluated.
  • The instruction is then developed to teach learners through either hands-on or performance-based instruction.
  • The assumption is that a trainee can be taught to perform to a specified level or standard if the instruction is presented on small enough segments, is interactive, and is performance oriented.
    • American Society for Training and Development, March 1988, Issue 803

Instructional Systems Design Model (ISD)

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation

ISD - Analysis

  • Gathers information to determine -
    • if training is the organizational response to the problem.
    • what the training should accomplish.
    • groups needing training.
    • resources available.
    • other needed information related to training.

ISD - Design (curriculum)

  • Prepares the developer for selecting and writing program materials -
    write program objectives.
  • Develop test items.
  • Establish design structure and sequence.

ISD - Development (instructional design)

  • The developer prepares training program -
    • Training materials support objectives.
    • Media selection appropriate to objectives.
    • Evaluation forms are prepared.
    • Documentation tracks participants progress.
    • Course documented.

ISD - Implementation (instruction)

  • Actual instruction carried out -
    • Instructors selected.
    • Classes held.
    • Problems recorded.
    • Program revised up to implementation.

ISD - Evaluation

  • Evaluation of training program
  • Evaluation carried out.
  • Use data to revise training program.

Competency-Based Education Model

  • A system of education designed to develop prespecified, role relevant competence in those who are to be products of the system.
    • Writing Competency-Based Frameworks, VVCRC

CBE Components

  • Duty Area
  • Task/Competency
  • Performance Objectives (conditions, performance and standard)
  • Performance Measures
  • Enabling Objectives
  • Instructional Activities
  • Resources

Duty Area

  • Represents a category of job responsibilities, a grouping of similar tasks, i.e., baking in catering course.

Task or Competency

  • Describes a measurable item of knowledge, skill, or behavior related to the occupational area, i.e., ordering staples in a baking unit.

Performance Objectives

  • Explains what the student must do to demonstrate that he or she has mastered this task/competency.
  • Tells the student
    • under what conditions the performance will take place
    • exactly what performance is required
    • how well the student must perform as a minimum standard.

Performance Measures

  • Tells how the student performance will be assessed.

Enabling Objectives

  • Offers suggested steps leading to mastery of the performance objective, including
    • subskills
    • related skills
    • supporting concepts
    • related knowledge
    • theory behind a psychomotor skill
    • reinforcement of prior learning
    • parts of the performance required

Instructional Activities

  • Presents suggested assignments contributing to the student's mastery, including such activities as -
    • group projects
    • individual projects
    • written work
    • oral work
    • critical thinking activities
    • demonstrations/simulations
    • audiovisual presentations
    • projects
    • experiments


  • nLists a variety of aids for teaching the task/competency
    • audiovisuals
    • printed materials

Selection of a Model

  • All use Foundations as specified by Ritz Model (due March 22)
  • Select Model for Remainder of Curriculum (Due April 19)
  • Ritz Model
  • ISD Model (Design Component)
  • CBE Model