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7 Curriculum Design Principles

Education is the foundation for success in any endeavor. Quality education, from early childhood all the way through postsecondary study, can help to develop the characteristics needed to thrive in life, career, and community. The learning experience engendered by curriculum design is the main factor in determining the quality of education experienced by any student.

The seven principles of curriculum design provide a framework for creating learning plans that promote effective and engaging learning for any student.

What are the Seven Principles of Curriculum Design?

The seven principles of curriculum design are applicability, inclusiveness, accessibility, continuity, definite objectives, collaboration, and review. Each has its own specific purpose, and when used together they create an effective learning environment.

These are the seven principles of the curriculum design process as laid out by Tyler (1949):

1. Applicability

Applicability of the curriculum is established by determining the goals of the curriculum, then organizing the learning activities to reach those goals. This requires research into the current trends and needs of the students to ensure the activities are applicable to the real world and applicable to the individual goals of the student.

How do you determine the goals of a curriculum?

The goals of a curriculum can be determined by researching the educational needs of the student. This could include analyzing past performance, surveys, conversations, and assessments for the goal of determining the exact needs of the student.

Once these needs are determined, activities can be put in place to help the student reach their goals. A good curriculum should include many activities to help the student learn or perform at their maximum potential.

How can activities be organized to reach the goals of the curriculum?

Organizing activities to reach the goals of the curriculum requires a sound understanding of the goals of the curriculum, as well as an understanding of the activities that can help the student reach those goals. Once the goals have been determined, activities should be selected that are tailor made for the individual student and for reaching those goals.

Activities should be organized so that each one builds upon the previous activity, helping the student build their skills incrementally. It is important to bear in mind that the activities should be challenging enough to instill critical thinking, yet manageable enough that the student will be comfortable in completing them.

What are the benefits of making a curriculum applicable?

Making a curriculum applicable offers a wide range of benefits. Firstly, the student is more likely to retain the knowledge acquired through the curriculum due to the fact that the activities are relevant to their world and individual goals. Furthermore, the more applicable the curriculum is, the more likely the student will be to apply what they have learned in the classroom to their everyday life.

Lastly, making the curriculum applicable to the student’s needs makes the process of learning more enjoyable, as the student is more likely to engage with the material and be motivated to keep learning.

2. Inclusiveness

Inclusiveness of curriculum design is established by seeking to incorporate multiple learning styles into the activities. By recognizing that not all students learn in the same way, the curriculum should incorporate activities that engage with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners to ensure everyone can learn effectively. Different methods and activities should be used to facilitate learning for all types of students.

How can different learning styles be incorporated into a curriculum?

Incorporating different learning styles into a curriculum can be done in a variety of ways. Firstly, using multiple learning styles when creating activities allows the student to practice and learn in a range of different ways. For example, activities that require visual learners could involve diagrams and photos whilst activities for auditory learners could involve listening to music or audio books.

Other activities such as field trips and class discussions engage with kinesthetic learners. Utilizing these methods allows the student to engage in a range of activities that appeal to their individual learning styles.

What are the benefits of creating an inclusive curriculum?

Creating an inclusive curriculum offers a multitude of benefits for both the student and the instructor. For the students, being involved in activities tailored to their individual learning styles allows them to be engaged in the learning process which, in turn, helps to develop their knowledge and skills.

For the instructor, designing an inclusive curriculum helps to increase the learning opportunities available to their students, as well as creating a more engaging and diverse learning environment. In addition, designing an inclusive curriculum allows the instructor to expand their teaching methods and activities, creating an environment where all students can learn and grow.

3. Accessibility

Accessibility of curriculum design is established by making the activities and materials as accessible as possible for the student. This could include providing different materials in accessible formats, such as large print or audio versions, or offering alternative learning pathways. The curriculum should also be designed so that it can be adapted to meet the individual needs of each student, allowing them to progress at their own pace.

How can materials be made accessible for the student?

There are a number of ways to make materials and activities accessible for the student. Firstly, offering alternative learning pathways and activities can provide the student with a greater range of learning options, allowing them to learn in the way that best suits them. Secondly, providing materials in different formats can help ensure that physical or sensory impairments do not affect the student’s ability to learn.

Examples of this could include providing materials in large print, on audio cassette or CD, in Braille, and in digital format.

What are the benefits of making a curriculum accessible?

Making a curriculum accessible offers a variety of educational benefits. For example, providing the material in different formats allows the student to have access to materials regardless of their physical or sensory circumstances.

Additionally, offering alternative pathways and activities allows the student to progress at a pace that is suitable for them, allowing them to master the material in their own way. Lastly, having materials available in accessible formats also eliminates physical barriers that could otherwise limit a student’s ability to learn.

4. Continuity

Continuity in curriculum design is established by ensuring there is a clear progression and coherence between the activities. Each activity should be linked to the next, allowing the student to build their skills and understanding incrementally.

Furthermore, activities should also be connected to each other in a logical manner, helping the student to create meaning from their learning and to recognize patterns and connections.

How can activities be organized in a progressive manner?

Organizing activities in a progressive manner requires careful planning and consideration. This could involve laying out the activities in a step by step fashion, allowing the student to build up their skills and knowledge. Additionally, the curriculum could involve activities that reinforce or backtrack on certain points, allowing the student to deepen their understanding.

Linking activities that are related in a visible manner can also help to create a sense of continuity and progression within the curriculum.

What are the benefits of establishing continuity within a curriculum?

There are a number of benefits to establishing continuity within a curriculum. Firstly, it helps to ensure that the student is learning in a progressive manner, allowing them to build their skills and knowledge incrementally in a way that is easy to track.

Additionally, it can help to create a sense of purpose within the curriculum, as the student can recognize the relationships between the activities as well as their relevance to the overall goal. Lastly, having a clear sense of continuity also leads to a more engaging learning experience, as the student is able to see the progress they make and better retain what they have learned.

5. Definite Objectives

Definite objectives in curriculum design are established by setting specific goals for each activity. This involves creating measurable objectives for the student to achieve each activity, such as completing a task within a certain period of time or reaching a certain level of understanding on a topic. Objectives can be tailored to the individual’s abilities, ensuring that the learning goals are challenging yet achievable for the student.

How can objectives be set for a curriculum?

Objectives can be set for a curriculum by researching the needs and abilities of the student. Objectives should be tailored to their individual needs and be realistic, yet challenging enough to ensure they are properly engaged in the learning process.

Additionally, objectives should have clear and achievable goals, as well as providing a way to track the student’s progress. Furthermore, objectives should also be measurable in order to ensure that the student is making adequate progress.

What are the benefits of setting definite objectives in a curriculum?

There are several benefits to setting definite objectives in a curriculum. Firstly, setting clear and achievable objectives helps to ensure that the student is on track for achieving the overall goal of the curriculum.

Secondly, having measurable objectives provides a way to track their progress, allowing the instructor to monitor and adjust activities as needed. Lastly, setting objectives that are challenging yet achievable ensures that the student stays engaged in the curriculum and motivated to complete the tasks set.

6. Collaboration

Collaboration in curriculum design is established by engaging with external organizations or individuals when creating or adapting activities. This could include consulting with experts in the field or using resources provided by other organizations. Collaboration can help the curriculum to remain up-to-date and relevant, as well as providing access to resources and knowledge that could not be found otherwise.

How can external organizations or individuals be involved in the curriculum design process?

There are a number of ways to involve external organizations or individuals in the curriculum design process. Firstly, consulting with experts in the field allows the instructor to gain a better understanding of the material, as well as ensuring that the material is accurate and relevant. Secondly, collaborating with other organizations or individuals can provide access to resources and knowledge that would not be available otherwise.

Finally, involving external organizations and individuals in the process can help to create a sense of connection and relevance for the student, allowing them to experience the material from a different perspective.

What are the benefits of collaboration in curriculum design?

There are a number of benefits to incorporating collaboration into curriculum design. Firstly, consulting with experts helps to ensure that the material is accurate and up-to-date. Secondly, involving external organizations or individuals can provide access to resources and knowledge that may otherwise be unavailable.

Finally, working together with other organizations and individuals allows the student to gain a better understanding of the topic, as well as providing them with an experience of working together with others.

7. Review

Review in curriculum design is established by assessing the activities to ensure they are effective and engaging for the student. This could involve analyzing the content of the activities, as well as considering the effectiveness of the curriculum overall.

Regular review and assessment of the curriculum also allows the instructor to make adjustments as needed to ensure the student is learning and progressing effectively.

How should the curriculum be assessed?

The curriculum should be assessed by considering the overall effectiveness of the activities and their relevance to the students. This could include measuring the progress of the students, as well as analyzing the feedback from the students and their parents.

It is also important to review the activities themselves, evaluating the content and methods used. Additionally, the instructor should also assess their own performance and consider if they are providing the appropriate level of support and feedback to the student.

What are the benefits of reviewing the curriculum?

Reviewing the curriculum offers a range of benefits. Firstly, it allows the instructor to analyze the effectiveness of the activities and to make changes as needed. This helps to ensure that the student is learning and progressing in the most effective way.

Secondly, regular reviews provide the opportunity for the instructor to adjust their methods and approach as needed. This ensures that the curriculum is up-to-date and relevant to the students, as well as providing the student with an engaging and challenging learning opportunity.


Quality education is vital for the growth of any student. The seven principles of curriculum design provide a framework for creating an effective learning experience and ensuring that the student receives a quality education. Each of the seven principles can be used to create an environment in which the student can learn, grow, and be well prepared for the future.

By using these seven principles together, an instructor can create an effective curriculum that helps to ensure the student receives the best educational experience possible.

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