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What Are The Three Designs Of Curriculum Organisation

Education is an essential part of life, and curriculum, by definition, is the course of study developed by schools and universities. Therefore, curriculum organisation requires a clear design that can effectively deliver the intended content. This article will describe the three primary designs of curriculum organisation, the objectives of each and the importance of using a design.

1. Subject-Based Curriculum

The most commonly used design of curriculum is subject-based curriculum where separate subjects are opened as a part of the syllabus. This structure was first implemented in the 18th century and is known to be highly segmented and direct in terms of learning. The main objective of this design is to ensure that students have a firm understanding of their core subjects such as English, Maths and Sciences.

This curriculum design is effective when it comes to delivering clear instructional materials and assessment procedures that test the students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject. It also allows students to work independently at their own pace, rather than relying on the teacher’s instructions or guidance every step of the way.

One drawback of this design is that it can be too focused on the singular subject and nowhere else, leading to an unbalanced curriculum at times.

2. Theme-Based Curriculum

Theme-based curriculum is structured around a central theme and is also known as integrated curriculum. Unlike subject-based, this design incorporates multiple subject areas instead of isolating each one. This approach allows the student to dig deeper into the subject matter and heightens their understanding of the particular theme rather just limiting the learning to merely one area.

It is an excellent option if the teacher is looking to implement a perspective-based or inquiry-based learning environment. The main goal of this design is to use the theme to cover a wide range of topics.

This opens the door for new and interesting activities, teaching techniques and assessment methods that allow the students to grasp the theme holistically. However, a theme-based curriculum needs to be efficiently managed in order to not get too distracted or side-tracked which can confuse the students.

3. Problem-Based Curriculum

The last curriculum design that is used by many institutions is the problem-based curriculum. It is structured around the idea of addressing a real-life problem such as world hunger, environment protection or climate change, and encourages students to research, identify and develop a solution. This format allows students to learn from their findings as well as from each other, in a hands-on approach to problem solving.

The main objective of problem-based curriculum is to spark an interest in a complex topic by offering engaging activities and discussion topics. It also allows the students to develop their interpersonal, organisational and critical thinking skills.

The only downside is that the implementation of this curriculum may be quite challenging, as it requires creative and innovative teaching approaches on the part of the teacher.


In conclusion, curriculum organisation is essential to the successful delivery of any course. Understanding the three distinct design models – subject-based, theme-based and problem-based – is important to planning the best curriculum for a given course. Each design has its own pros and cons but all three are seen as effective in meeting their respective objectives.

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