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In brief, curriculum refers to experiences of learners, content, plan, and series of courses to be done by learners for which the school is responsible. In addition, a curriculum considers learners and their interaction with each other, the teacher and the materials.

The output and outcomes of a curriculum are evaluated. Bringing all these points together, the curriculum is viewed as a composite whole including the learner, the teacher, teaching and learning methodologies, predicted and unexpected experiences, outputs and outcomes possible within a learning institution.


Curriculum is the foundation of the teaching-learning process. The development of programs of study, learning and teaching resources, lesson plans and assessment of students, and even teacher education are all based on curriculum. Curriculum and curriculum development at first glance appear to be of chief concern to educators, governments and parents, and both have relevance and impact on the development of communities and prosperity.

According to De Coninck (2008), curriculum, more than ever before, is now viewed as being at the centre of daily life and the responsibility of society as a whole.



Curriculum development involves needs of assessment to know the needs of learners, designing the curriculum, and implementation phases. After those phases are completed, outcomes are reviewed and evaluated against the original needs assessment. Needs change with societal expectations.

Curriculum development can be defined as the step-by-step process used to create positive improvements in courses offered by a school, college or university. The curriculum development process is the systematically organization of what will be taught, who will be taught, and how it will be taught.


Each component affects and interacts with other components. For example, what will be taught is affected by who is being taught (e.g., their stage of development in age, maturity, and education). Methods of how content is taught are affected by who is being taught, their characteristics, and the setting. In considering the above three essential components, the following are widely held to be essential considerations in experiential education in non-formal settings.



The following are the activities involve in curriculum development processes;


The planning phase lays the foundation for all of the curriculum development steps. The steps in this phase include:

(1)   Identify Issue/Problem/Need: The need for curriculum development usually emerges from a concern about a major issue or problem of one or more target audience. This section explores some of the questions that need to be addressed to define the issue and to develop a statement that will guide the selection of the members of a curriculum development team. The issue statement also serves to broadly identify, the scope (what will be included) of the curriculum content.


(2)   Form Curriculum Development Team: Once the nature and scope of the issue has been broadly defined, the members of the curriculum development team can be selected. Topics covered in this section include: (1) the roles and functions of team members, (2) a process for selecting members of the curriculum development team, and (3) principles of collaboration and teamwork. The goal is to obtain expertise for the areas included in the scope of the curriculum content among the team members and develop an effective team.


(3)   Conduct Needs Assessment and Analysis: There are two phases in the needs assessment process. The first is procedures for conducting a needs assessment. A number of techniques are aimed toward learning what is needed and by whom relative to the identified issue. Techniques covered in this section include: KAP – Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice Survey; focus groups; and environmental scanning. Activities involve in curriculum development processes.

Analysis, the second part of this needs assessment step, describes techniques on how to use the data and the results of the information gathered. Included are: ways to identify gaps between knowledge and practice; trends emerging from the data; a process to prioritize needs; and identification of the characteristics of the target audience.



Phase II determines intended outcomes (what learners will be able to do after participation in curriculum activities), the content (what will be taught), and the methods (how it will be taught). Steps include:

(4) State Intended Outcomes: Once the issue is defined, the curriculum team is formed, the needs assessed, analyzed and prioritized, the next step is to refine and restate the issue, if needed, and develop the intended outcomes or educational objectives. An intended outcome states what the learner will be able to do as a result of participating in the curriculum activities.


This section includes: (1) a definition of intended outcomes, (2) the components of intended outcomes (condition, performance, and standards), (3) examples of intended outcomes, and (4) an overview of learning behaviors. A more complete explanation of the types and levels of learning behaviours is included in the Addendum as well as intended outcome examples from FAO population education materials.


(5)   Select Content: The next challenge in the curriculum development process is selecting content that will make a real difference in the lives of the learner and ultimately society as a whole.

At this point, the primary questions are: “If the intended outcome is to be attained, what will the learner need to know? What knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours will need to be acquired and practiced?” The scope (breadth of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours) and the sequence (order) of the content are also discussed. Intended outcomes of population education with content topics are provided in the Addendum section as an example and application of how intended outcomes are linked with content.


(6)   Design Experiential Methods: After the content is selected, the next step is to design activities (learning experiences) to help the learner achieve appropriate intended outcomes. An experiential learning model and it components (i.e., experience, share, process, generalize, and apply) are discussed in this section. Additional topics include:

  1. learning styles and activities appropriate for each style;
  2. a list of types of activities (with descriptions);
  3. an activity design worksheet for facilitators; and
  4. brief discussions on learning environments and delivery modes.


(III) Implementation:

This term refers to the act of working out the plans and suggestions that have been made by curriculum specialists and subject experts in a classroom or school setting. Teachers are the main curriculum implementers, while at the same time students, parents, school administrators can be directly or indirectly involved in the implementation process:

(7)  Produce Curriculum Product: Once the content and experiential methods have been agreed upon, the actual production of curriculum materials begins. This section includes: 1) suggestions for finding and evaluating existing materials; 2) evaluation criteria; and 3) suggestions for producing curriculum materials.


(8)  Test and Revise Curriculum: This step includes suggestions to select test sites and conduct a formative evaluation of curriculum materials during the production phase. A sample evaluation form is provided.


(9)   Recruit and Train Facilitators: It is a waste of resources to develop curriculum materials if adequate training is not provided for facilitators to implement it. Suggestions for recruiting appropriate facilitators are provided with a sample three-day training program.

(10) Implement Curriculum: Effective implementation of newly developed curriculum products is unlikely to occur without planning. Strategies to promote and use the curriculum are discussed in this step.



(11) Design Evaluation Strategies: Evaluation is a phase in the curriculum development model as well as a specific step. Two types of evaluation, formative and summative, are used during curriculum development. Formative evaluations are used during the needs assessment, product development, and testing steps.

Summative evaluations are undertaken to measure and report on the outcomes of the curriculum. This step reviews evaluation strategies and suggests simple procedures to produce valid and reliable information. A series of questions are posed to guide the summative evaluation process and a sample evaluation format is suggested.


(12) Reporting and Securing Resources: The final element in an evaluation strategy is “delivering the pay off (i.e., getting the results into the hands of people who can use them). In this step, suggestions for what and how to report to key shareholders, especially funding and policy decision makers, are provided and a brief discussion on how to secure resources for additional programming.



Curriculum is a systematic and intended packaging of competencies i.e. knowledge, skills, and attitude and underpinned by the values. Learning should acquire there values through organized learning experiences both in formal or informal settings.

Therefore, no curriculum will be perfect, as a finished product cast in stone, or free from criticism, but to be effective it must be accepted by teachers and must be deemed educationally valid by parents and the community at large.

In educational practice, these factors interact with each other and generate influences that cannot be attributed to one factor or another. This requires an understanding of the purpose of the program, the roles people will play, and those affected, this process needs to be planned, but not rigid.



Goodson, I. F. (1994).Studying curriculum. New York: Teachers College Press.


Hyles, B. S., Truatman, M. L., & Schelvan, R. L. (2004). The hidden curriculum: Practical solutions for understanding unstated rules in social situations. USA: Autism Asperger Publishing Co.

Hawking, P., Ramp, A., &Shackleton, P. (2001). IS’97 model curriculum and enterprise resource planning systems. Business Process Management Journal, 7(3), 225-233.

Jackson, P.W. (1992). Handbook of Research on Curriculum. N.Y.: Macmillan.

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