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3 Models of Curriculum Design and Development


A curriculum is a collective term used to refer to the group of assignments, tests, and academic material that is used in a classroom to impart knowledge. A curriculum design needs to satisfy the following conditions in order to be viable for operation:

  • Statement of Purpose: What is the motive behind the preparation of the curriculum?
  • Outcome Statement: How will the information provided in the curriculum be used by the students?
  • Essential Resources: What teaching aids will be used by the teacher for a better understanding of the concept?
  • Strategy Framework: What teaching approach will be followed in the classroom?
  • Verification Method: How to measure the effectiveness of teaching?
  • Course Syllabus: What is to be taught during the course duration and by when the syllabus will be completed?
  • Capstone Project: How will the students show what they have learned in the class?

Every curriculum should have these components, and if any of them are left out, teachers might not be able to provide students with a comprehensive learning experience.

What is Curriculum Development?

The systematic method used to develop better courses for a school, college, or university can be referred to as curriculum development. It is necessary to incorporate new discoveries into educational curricula as the world continues to change. To enhance the educational experience of students, creative teaching methods and strategies are also being developed. Examples of this include active learning and blended learning. An institution must therefore have a strategy in place for recognizing these transitions and being able to incorporate them into the college curriculum.

What is Curriculum Design?

The planned, methodical, and intentional organizing of the instructional units of a curriculum inside a class or course is referred to as curriculum design. In other words, it is a method for teachers to organize their lesson plans. Teachers decide what will be done, who will do it, and what schedule to adhere to when they design a curriculum.

Purpose of Curriculum Design

Each curriculum is created with a clear educational purpose in mind. The main objective of curriculum design is to enhance student learning, but there are other objectives as well. For instance, planning a middle school curriculum with both elementary and high school curricula in mind helps in ensuring that learning objectives are synchronized and are built upon one another from one level to the next. The students may experience significant difficulties if a middle school curriculum is created without taking into account existing knowledge from elementary school or future study in high school.

What are the Three Models of Curriculum Design?

The three models of curriculum design are - subject-centered, learner-centered, and problem-centered design.

Subject-Centered Design

A subject-centered curriculum design emphasizes a certain subject or field, like biology, literature, or mathematics. This approach to curriculum design frequently puts the subject—rather than the student—at the forefront. It is the type of standardized curriculum that K12 schools use most frequently.

Lists of subjects or particular topics and how they should be studied are compiled by teachers. This form of teaching is frequently seen in universities or college classes in higher education, where lecturers concentrate on a particular subject or discipline.

The only downside with this type of curriculum design is that it is not student-centered and is less concerned with individual learning preferences. Students who are not responsive may fall behind as a result, which might affect their motivation and engagement.

Learner-Centered Curriculum Design

Learner-centered curriculum design, on the other hand, takes into account the needs, interests, and goals of each individual. In other words, it recognizes that every learner is unique and adapts to their needs. The goal of learner-centered curriculum design is to give students control over their education and provide them the freedom to make decisions about it.

A learner-centered curriculum has varied lesson plans that allow students to select their own tasks, lessons, and activities. Students may be inspired and encouraged to remain interested in the lessons they are learning as a result.

This method of curriculum creation has the problem of being labor-intensive. It is the teacher's responsibility to develop differentiated education that meets the needs of each student's learning and/or identify materials that support that training. Teachers might not have the time, experience, or abilities to develop such a strategy. In order to create a curriculum that is learner-centered, teachers must strike a difficult balance between the needs and interests of the students and the standards that must be met.

Problem-Centered Curriculum Design

Problem-centered curriculum design is a type of student-centered design, just like the learner-centered design. The main goal of a problem-centered curriculum is to educate students on how to analyze a situation and find a solution. As a result, students are exposed to real-world problems, which aids in the development of transferable abilities.

The relevance of the curriculum is increased through problem-centered curriculum design, which also encourages innovation and creativity in the students. This method of curriculum design has the issue of not always taking learning styles into account.

Curriculum Design Tips

The following tips for curriculum design can help teachers in managing each phase of the process.

  • Identify the needs of the stakeholders - This can be accomplished through needs analysis, which entails the gathering and analysis of learner-related data. This information may include what students already know and what they must know to master a certain subject or skill. Information regarding the perspectives, qualities and shortcomings of the learner may also be included.
  • Create a clear list of learning goals and outcomes - This will enable you to prepare lessons that can provide the expected results and help you concentrate on the curriculum's intended purpose. Teachers set learning objectives for their students to accomplish during the course. The measurable knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students should have acquired by the end of the course are known as learning outcomes.
  • Determine the constraints that will affect the design of your curriculum. One typical constraint that needs to be taken into account is time. The period has a finite number of hours, days, weeks, or months. Learning outcomes will be affected if there is not enough time to give all of the planned training.


Developing, planning, and implementing an educational program is no simple feat. With today's varied student body and educational technology playing an ever-more-important part in higher education, teachers have their work cut out for them. However, teachers will be positioning themselves—and their students—for long-term success by adhering to the core principles and framework of curriculum design and development.

Suggested Read - The Role of Critical Thinking in Curriculum Development

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