PRINCIPLES OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION: MODULE 3: Course Design and Development

                     Course Design and Development

Curriculum design refers to the arrangement of the elements of a curriculum into a substantive entity. 

Components or elements or parts of curriculum design are as follows:
1.      Aims, goals, and objectives
2.       Subject matter
3.      Learning experiences
4.      Evaluation approaches.

Therefore, a curriculum design provides a framework.

Sources of ideas of curriculum design:
1.      Science- cognitive process (thinking skills). Eg. Listening, writing, asking questions, recording, observation, analysis.
2.       Society-common for all. Eg. Views stake holders on what children should learn
3.      Eternal and Divine-eg original virtue
4.      Knowledge-academic rationalism. What knowledge is most worth?
5.      Learners as the source- curriculum activities.


Organization of curriculum design
There are two types of organization of curriculum design:
       i.            Horizontal organization
Horizontal organization refers side by side arrangement of curriculum elements in which we consider scope and integration

Scope- refers to breadth and depth of the subject content or simply the extent of the area or subject matter that something deals with or to which it is relevant
 Integration- refers to the situation or process considering the dimension of the subjects by also considering the linking of the materials. Eg. In form six considering linking history one materials with history 2 materials.
Vertical and horizontal integration
Vertical integration
       A topic is revisited throughout the duration of the curriculum, with further information being added to the sum of knowledge year by year
      A process termed concentric spiral learning.

Horizontal integration:
       A topic is taught by different groups of staff (perhaps departments or themes) without undue overlap of information, also called thematic teaching.
      E.g: T/L physical chemistry, organic chemistry, soil chemistry, general chemistry (at one particular year), through teamwork (different teacher from the respective unit).
      Horizontal integration creates a positive orientation towards team working amongst these professions in their future career.
      Think of QT in NECTA examination system
      A combination of vertical and horizontal integration has been described as a spiral curriculum.
The advantages
Ø   Topics are revisited more than once in the programme,
Ø  There is increasing level of difficulty or complexity on each occasion,
Ø  The new learning is linked to the previous


     ii.            Vertical organisation
Vertical organization refers to arrangement of the content and skills so that they build on one another and that they align with the general sequence of cognitive development. Here we consider sequence and continuity.

Sequence- is the attempt to arrange the materials in a related continuous series say from simple to complex in regards to the level.
 Continuity- involves the relation of subsequent learning with its predecessor, providing for the necessary perquisites and the attempt to avoid interference with a learner’s progress. Eg. Elementary program that follows secondary program

Stages of curriculum design:
1.      Rationale-ask yourself a qn, why are they learning?
2.      Aims and objectives towards the goals of learning.
3.      Content-what should they learn? Eg in relation to the prevailing situation of the country or world.
4.      Learning activities- how shall they be learning?
5.      Teacher’s role- what will they do, how will they facilitate learning.
6.      Materials and resources-what materials are they learning?
7.       Grouping-with whom will they be learning?
8.      Location. Where will they be learning?
9.      Time- when and for how long will those learners learn?
10.  Assessment and evaluation-how far or long has the learning been achieved? What kind of tools/criteria will be assessed?


Curriculum development refers to activities such as conceptualizing, planning, implementing, field testing, and researching that are intended to produce new curricula or improve existing ones.

Curriculum guide- is a teaching aid rather than a complete course of study in itself and may include the following:
      Introduction-subject, grade level, user information, etc.
      Instructional goals and objectives
      Content/topics
      Time suggestions
      Activities-learning experiences including both individual and group activities
      Evaluation; might include sample test items, open ended items, performance tasks, portfolio suggestions
      Resources-people, books, media, software packages, learning materials and resources to assist with the learning activities


Basic Curriculum Design Concepts & Curriculum Definitions

Scope
      The extent and depth of content coverage,
      The coherence of the curriculum that can be achieved by studying a set of fundamental ideas over seven, four or six years of content.
       How material to cover related to a given topic
      How much to expect of learners as a result of instruction. 
Sequence
       Presentation of the material in a logical order.  
      Beginning with concrete ideas and moving toward the abstract as they advance through the grade levels.
      The sequence could be determined by increasing complexity
Articulation
       Relationship between two or more elements of curriculum that is simultaneous rather than sequential.
      It is a correlation of the experiences a learner has in one subject area with another.
      Example:  Studying political and social history of the civil war in U.S. history while reviewing American Literature of the same period in English class.
Coordination
       is the belief that fundamental ideas are studied over many years rather than many days or weeks.  
      Also, the curriculum should provide application of knowledge so that it is relevant to the students' lives.  Example:  In science, it refers to studying the four basic disciplines each year and ensuring for continuity.
Continuity, also called “vertical articulation.”
       It involves the relation of subsequent learning with its predecessor, providing for the necessary prerequisites, and the attempt to avoid interference with a learner's progress.
      Example: An elementary program that flows logically into a secondary program.

Course Design
The overall curriculum development outcomes are organized in courses, that is:
Ø  In comprehensive entities of objectives, assessment instruments and instructional strategies and materials.
Examining single discipline design
      Kessels, J.W.M. & Plomp, Tj. (1996):
Course design is used for the tactical planning process. It is positioned between:
Ø   The macro strategic level of curriculum development and
Ø  The micro operational level of instructional design.
Brainstorming Activity
Questions:
  1. Distinguish between macro strategic level of curriculum development and the micro operational level of instructional design.
  2. Give the examples of curriculm development in macro strategic level and the micro operational level of curriculum design.
  3. Is the CE 200 in the form of macro or micro level of curriculum design?
 


Course design as a micro operational process involves
Involves :
-          Analysis of the specific needs,
-          Favourable and inhibiting conditions for implementation, and
-          The selection and application of instructional theories.

Instructional theories of learning and their implications on curriculum decision

Psychological  theories and others beliefs:
      Nature of learning have potential influence on decisions about curriculum.
Behaviourism
      Learning is a change of behaviour resulting from learning experiences. (Torndike, Skinner, Cuthrie, Bandura).
      Trial and error in learning, the role of reinforcement and schedule of reinforcement, social learning and modeling).
Question: What can we learn from behaviourist  course design? Classroom presentation and motivation? Evaluation?


Cognitivism (cognitive theories)
Learning as manipulation or change of mental process (cognitive structure).
  1. Ausubel:
      Learning as either meaningful or rote
      Meaningful learning as a processing material which bears reliability
      Emphases is on proper sequencing and organisation of ideas
2. Piaget:
-Cognitive structure has two components.
-Cognitive structure increases systematically as you grow (sensori-motor, pre operational and operational)
-Cognitive structure changes by either the process of:
        i)            Assimilation: Adding new knowledge/experience to existing concept structure
      ii)            Accomodation: re-arranging existing concept structure in order to fit new knowledge
      Emphasis :
        i)            The right content must be introduced at the right time (age is crucial)
      ii)            Cognitive skills can be improved through training and practice.
3) Bruner:
      Practical use of  cognitive ideas in teaching and learning
      Learning by doing and learning by discovery
4) Gagne:
      Conditional of learning identify a series of stages in the mental process of learning
      The stages bedin with signal learning and climate in problem solving

Humanistic theories
      Human motives, self concepts and development, aesthetics and personality development are among categories of learning
1) A. Maslow: Hierarchy of developments motives, of the self
2) Carl Rogers
      Development of self learning as a condition of relaxed learning and improve self concept/self esteem

Brainstorming activity
      Is there any plausible distinction among:
Ø  Curriculum development;
Ø   Course design, and;
Ø  Instructional planning?
      Distinction
      Gentry, 1994 (focuses on course design),
      Romiszowski, 1981 (focuses designing instructional)
      van den Akker  1999/2003, Nieven 2010, etc (focus on curriculum design).

Design perspectives:
Ø  Curriculum development (Level 1 design),
Ø  Course design (level 2 design)
Ø   Instructional planning (level 3 design).


Requirements of course design
      A problem whose solution is sought to be addressed or an educational answer to a question.
      Reason: Course is an educational solution to a problem, or an educational answer to a question
      Therefore, perceptions on the learning process that makes part of that solution/answer must be considered.

Approaches to course design
There are various approaches to course design: few of them are:
  1. A systematic approach (Tyler, 1949)
  2. A deliberative approach (Walker, 1971)
  3. An artistic approach (Esner, 1975)
  4. A cognitive approach (Posner, 1982)
  5. A constructivistic approach (Winn, 1993)


A systematic approach
Four divisions of curriculum inquiry (Tyler, 1949)
1. What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?
2. What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
3. How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
4. How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?

Sources of the objectives (Question 1)
      Studies of the learner (individual),
      Studies of contemporary life (society), and
      Suggestions from subject specialists (content),
      Philosophy of education and a theory of learning.
      The systematic approach has led to design procedures that heavily rely on:
Ø  Needs assessment,
Ø  Task analysis,
Ø  Stating instructional objectives,
Ø  Matching assessment instrument and devising appropriate instructional strategies.
NB: Programmed instruction and computer assisted instruction probably would not have come to development without the founding work of Tyler.

A deliberative approach (Walker)
Three basic planning phases:
Ø  Platform,
Ø  Deliberation, and
Ø  Design.
      On the basis of these findings he developed a framework known as 'Naturalistic Model'.
      This model is not on how course design should take place, but how it occurs in reality when planners meet and try to put together the elements for successful learning events.

Participants:
Ø   Talk,
Ø  Discuss, and
Ø  Argue about their beliefs, 'conceptions', theories, aims, images and potential procedures.

NB: Clarity and consensus enable to move into the phase of deliberation
      Identifying relevant facts,
      Generating alternative courses of action in light of precedents,
      Considering the costs and consequences of all alternatives, and
      Choosing the most defensible alternative.

NB: The platform and deliberative phase involve intensive exchange of ideas and beliefs.
       Consensus lead to the design phase.
      This is extremely difficult task,
Ø  Participants hold their adversive/difficult beliefs,
Ø   Do not survive the frustration of emerging chaos (complete disorder and confusion).

Design phase
Decision making about:
Ø   specific subjects,
Ø  instructions,
Ø  teaching materials, and
Ø  other activities that the planners advice.
      Participants make their individual beliefs and values explicit as well as their perceptions of the instructional task and their assertions about how to proceed.
      NB: According to deliberate model, the process of arriving at better decisions is not a process of optimization (best or most effective), rather.

Ø  Negotiation among those with different points to find a satisfying solution.
Ø  This is the area where major stakeholders are involved
Deliberate model emphasizes:
Ø   An iterative and spiralistic design process
Ø  The process passes several times through the various phases of the design cycle
      Advocate prototyping as a vehicle for course design.
      According to Gentry (1994, p. 160):
Ø  A prototype is a functional version of an instructional unit usually in an unfinished state, whose effectiveness and efficiency can be tested.
Ø  It offers users an opportunity to find out what they do not like about the proposed unit
Ø  Prototyping can be regarded as a practical way of organizing deliberation among relevant stakeholders

An artistic approach
      Various participants become involved in dialogue and discourse.
      It favours selection of content where wide variety of learning opportunities are provided to students.
      It strongly consider teachers as important in transforming the planned curriculum into varied, meaningful and satisfying learning opportunities
      Teachers are the decision makers about curriculum implementation
Ø   teachers enacts the curr.
Ø   They observes how students experience it


A cognitive approach
      Posner (1982) introduces the concept of the 'curricular task' that forms the core of an approach to curriculum development and course design based on a cognitive psychology
      An important characteristic in this cognitive approach is that:
Ø   The students’ interpretation of the curricular tasks and their subsequent task engagement determine what and how much they learn.
Ø  It emphases on cognitive operations instead of on instructional
Ø  Greater interest in student's problem solving processes than in achievement-testing.
      Students shape their tasks or construct problem spaces on the basis of:
Ø   Their interpretations of the task environment against the background of past experience,
Ø  The availability of internal and external resources,
Ø  The costs and benefits of engagements, and
Ø  Their purpose of being in the situation.
      The cognitive approach is based on a thorough understanding of:
Ø  How knowledge is organized to permit storage, retrieval,
Ø  Utilization of knowledge, and
Ø  How a person's previous experience and existing knowledge affect perceptions, communication, learning, and performance of tasks

A constructivist approach
      A central idea:
Ø  Students construct knowledge for themselves.
      Radical point of view:
Ø   Knowledge construction implies that each person knows the world in a different way,
Ø  There is therefore no shared objective knowledge to teach about, and that consequently instructional analysis and prescription make no difference to what students learn.
      From an extreme perspective:
Ø   There is nothing that instructional designers can do to affect students’ understanding and behaviour, if knowledge is entirely constructed by students and hence it is pointless to design courses.
      But not all constructivists take this radical position.
Constructivism holds
      Learning is a process of building up structures of experiences
      Learners do not transfer knowledge from the external world into their memories,
      They create interpretations of the world based upon past experiences and their interactions in the actual world.
      In the constructivist view:
Ø  A course should provide contexts and assistance that will aid the individual in making sense of the environment
Ø  Rearrangement of instructional sequences, multiple dimensions of knowledge representation, and multiple interconnections across knowledge components.
Ø  People, through communication with each other, share concepts/world around.
      Deciding what concepts mean becomes a social activity.
NB: Course design should stress the process of making meaning rather than the end of arriving at a particular understanding

Summary
      Typology of curriculum representations

THE VULNERABLE CURRICULUM SPIDERWEB (van den Akker, 2003)
Rationale
Why are they learning?
Aims & Objectves
Toward which goals are they learning?
Content
What are they learning?
Learning activities
How are they learning?
Teacher role
How is the teacher facilitating learning?
Materials & Resources
With what are they learning?
Grouping
With whom are they learning?
Location
Where are they learning?
Time
When are they learning?
Assessment
How far has learning progressed?


Curricular spider web

Planning Your Course
      Planning a course typically involves five stages:
     Determining the relationship of the course to the curriculum
     Identifying course objectives
     Dividing the course into logical units or segments
     Identifying learning experiences and methods appropriate to help students achieve course goals
     Determining how best to evaluate student performance

Where Does Your Course Fit In?
      Determine where the course fits into the curriculum of the college, department, schools, etc
      The place your course occupies in the curriculum will influence a number of things as you design your plans for teaching:
     Course objectives and content
     Assignments and other class activities
     Preparation, motivation, and expectations of students
     The amount of freedom you may have in selecting content, materials, and techniques.


Determining Your Instructional Objectives
      Instructional objectives are expressions of what a student should be able to do as a result of instruction in your course.
Ø  What students are to learn, do to enable them to learn, and how they will know they have attained the objectives.
Determining Your Instructional Objectives
      Use these questions to guide goal setting:
     What kinds of skills and levels of knowledge can you expect of students who register for the course?
     What level of performance can you expect of them? (competencies)
     In what ways will students be “different” when they finish the course?
     What should students be able to DO with the knowledge and skills gained in the course?
     What do students need to KNOW in order to do the things they should be able to do when they finish the course?
     What kinds of tasks should students perform to help them acquire the knowledge they need to achieve their learning goals?
     How will you measure students’ level of “difference” when the course is finished? 
Dividing the Course  Into Logical Units
      Identify the appropriate material to cover
      The best structure for presenting the material.
      It is important to break your course into chunks so students can more easily assimilate it.
Selecting Activities that Support the Goals
Now, you have the course objectives and work structure:
      Ask what kinds of learning experiences seem appropriate for students to master the course goals and objectives. 
      How best you can help your students learn.
      What textbooks, monographs, or other reading materials are available, at what level are they written, and how closely do they match your conception of the course goals and objectives?
      Would a film or videotape explain some topics better than a lecture?
      Would individuals with expertise in certain areas make ideal guest speakers?
      Would your students learn some things better if they took a field trip to a local site?
      How will you involve students actively in their learning, both in and out of the classroom?
Choosing a Textbook and Other Material
      In most college courses, readings carry the burden of conveying content.
      Read all material you plan to assign to judge relevance and identify potential problems of interpretation or elements of controversy.
      Consider reading level of texts.
      The average undergraduate enters the University reading at below the twelfth-grade level.
      Determine readability.
      Evaluate the author’s approach to the subject, layout of the chapters, and the text’s pedagogical features
      Consider whether or not the content of the book is correct, precise, and accurate
      Look for clear explanations of complex ideas and for a variety of concrete examples to illustrate concepts
      Check for logical organization within chapters and throughout the book
      Determine readability.
      Determine whether or not chapters or units are of manageable length for students to master in the time allowed.
      Look for pedagogical features that will help students read and understand the content: chapter outlines, summaries, thought questions, lists of important terms and definitions, colored or bold-faced type, etc.
      Designing Strategies to Evaluate Student Learning
Find the best way of assessing how well each student or the class as whole achieved the instructional goals of the course.
     Multiple choice exams
     Essay exams
     Project assignments
     Weekly quizzes
     Writing assignments
     Oral reports
     Others
      Evaluation methods should be appropriate to the objectives and need to be planned when you design the course.

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