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What Are The Three Basic Types Of Curriculum

A curriculum plays a major role in a child’s growth and development. Without a set curriculum, education systems run the risk of children not having access to the most up-to-date knowledge.

While there are many variations and different adaptations, there are three primary types of curriculum which are used around the world in schools, homeschools, and other educational facilities. These curriculum types include Subject Centered, Learner Centered, and Problem-Based Curriculum. In this article, we will explore each of these main types of curricula, their benefits and what they look like in a classroom setting.

Subject Centered Curriculum

Subject centered curriculum is the oldest type of curriculum and is the most traditional type of education. The content in this form of curriculum is determined by the subject area; the areas which need to be included in each lesson. This type of curriculum is also usually set by the school board, or other government entity, providing a base level of education accessible to all.

For instance, subject centered curriculum may cover things such as arithmetic and science, which ensures that all students, regardless of their environment or what resources they have, are given the chance to learn the core elements of an education. Another advantage of this type of curriculum is that it gives the student the opportunity to build an overall knowledge base, rather than just focus on one specific area of study.

The way in which the information is taught in this type of curriculum is largely dependent on the teacher. Generally, the lessons use a variety of methods including lectures, demonstrations, field trips and more. Of course, this does require more knowledge and pre-planning from the teacher, as well as a greater expense from the educational institution in terms of material and equipment costs.

The focus of this type of curriculum in terms of assessment is based on the knowledge gained from a lectures, processing of practical examples, and testing. This type of assessment does not test for any special skills or personal knowledge but rather ensures that the student has at least a basic knowledge of the subject matter and the ability to apply what has been learned.

Learner Centered Curriculum

The goal of learner centered curriculum is to always keep the learner in mind when creating the lesson plans and overall structure of the curriculum. This type of curriculum puts a focus on the individual needs and abilities of each student, rather than the subject matter. The teacher is expected to customize the lesson plans and use different learning approaches to match the individual needs of each student.

For instance, rather than just providing a lecture on a subject matter, the teacher may use visual materials, or demos that stimulate a student’s creativity and interest. In this type of curriculum, the assessment focuses on the individual learning goals of the student.

Rather than giving a standardized test that focuses on a single subject matter, the assessment may consist of a variety of different activities such as tests, interviews, and activities that have been tailored to the needs of the student. This type of assessment allows the teacher and the student to work together to create a learning experience that is customized to the student’s needs, abilities, and interests.

Problem Based Curriculum

Problem based curriculum is an approach that focuses on the application of problem-solving skills when learning a subject, rather than the application of a specific set of knowledge. This type of curriculum encourages students to research, assess, and analyze their own ways of thinking, rather than relying on a memorized set of assumptions or facts, in order to solve a certain problem. When using this type of curriculum, the focus is largely on letting the students explore the problem-solving strategies, and develop their own methods to come to a conclusion.

This type of curriculum also encourages collaboration, allowing students to work together to find the best methods and strategies for solving a problem. The assessment for this type of curriculum is based on how the student solves the particular problem, rather than how much knowledge they were able to memorize.

This assessment style ensures that the student can apply the appropriate problem-solving strategy to the questions they are being asked to answer, and encourages the student to explore and come up with creative solutions.


In conclusion, there are three main types of curriculum; subject centered, learner centered, and problem-based. Subject centered curriculum follows a set of guidelines determined by the school board or other government entities, and focuses on delivering the same core material to all students. Learner centered curriculum is more personalized and focuses on the individual needs and abilities of the student.

Problem-based curriculum focuses on problem-solving skills, allowing students to explore, research and analyze the problem at hand. Each of these have their own unique benefits, and can be used to create an educational system that best fits the student’s needs.

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