Academic Master


Curriculum Development phases and challenges

Curriculum- it is a plan for learning that requires management and organization of the interaction between teachers and students and the knowledge acquired by students. The choice of the plan is very essential because when the wrong plan is put in place, it causes major challenges and causes the student not to acquire the desired knowledge.

The curriculum contains many components: content—the content in the curriculum, assessment—how the students will be assessed on the knowledge acquired, learning activities, and teaching activities. To achieve what is entailed in the curriculum, a curriculum model is designed. A Curriculum Model is a curriculum design format that is developed to meet the needs and purposes or goals of the developers.

Many of the models used are associated with key challenges. Some of the challenges are:

Having a curriculum model that is used for authentic learning:

Is the model used to encourage students to address real-life problems? This helps students develop critical thinking skills that are needed for college and their careers. Lack of skills causes students to drop out of school.

Supporting social-emotional skills development in students:

These are behaviors and skills that make students successful in life and in college. It includes self-discipline, focus, confidence, and teamwork. A model that make students to have experience and manage emotions with others. A model that does not cater to social-emotional is not a student-driven model.

  1. Deep learning comprises student mindset skills and understanding for students in college and in their careers. Model that does not encourage creativity among students and innovations to succeed in college and in life. This allows collaboration and teamwork, and students learn from each other.
  2. Students’ ability to solve real-time problems. This helps students to understand and be able to solve problems in society, for example, in politics, finances, and social relations.

When designing a curriculum model, a good model is one that drives knowledge for personal and social transformation. Provides response to increasingly complex world, global interconnection, increase of complexity and rapid knowledge expansion and real world problems and issues. That which helps students to engage in creative projects, critical thinking, and practical skills and also the significance of personal and social aspects, focuses on teachers teaching rather than learning.

In order to solve these challenges, different models have been designed.

Backward Design:

To help solve these challenges backward design which is student can be used. Unlike classic beginning to end approach where the instructor decides what to teach before assessment, backward design begin with the goal that is what the learner will get after the class.

It has three stages:

  • Identifying the desired goal of the lesson and outcomes.

It deals with what students are able to do and understand. It focuses on principles and theories.

  • Desired assessments measure the progress.

The evidence that the student has understood through assessment tasks like project, test, and observation.

  • Learning experience and designing activities that helps students to do well in the assessment.

The desired result is to be achieved by students’ skills and knowledge through teaching methods and resource materials.

Desired goal Desired assessment Learning experience:

Stage 1 – Desired Results

Understanding and learning goals

Students will be able to use their learning to…


Refers to how students will transfer the knowledge gained from the lesson, unit, or course and apply it outside of the context of the course.


Students will understand big ideas and specific understandings students will have when they complete the lesson, unit, or course.



Refers to questions that foster inquiry, understanding, and transfer of learning.

Students will know key knowledge students will acquire from the lesson, unit, or course. Students will be skilled from the lesson, unit, or course
Stage 2 – Evidence and Assessment
Evaluative Criteria Assessment Evidence
Types of criteria that students will be evaluated on. PERFORMANCE TASK(S):

Refers to performance task(s) that students will complete to demonstrate the desired understandings or demonstrate they have attained the goals

Stage 3 – Learning Plan
This stage encompasses lectures, discussions, problem-solving sessions,

Backward design solves the challenges by the fact that it support learning by theory and it improve desired outcomes of a student. It focuses on student understanding the concepts by increase capacity to interpret explain and apply knowledge. It focuses on ensuring learning of student rather than teaching by teachers. It deal with 3 process of results, evidence and planning from the assessments.

Discipline Course Learning Goal Learning Outcome Assessment Activities
Social Science Psychology Understand human thinking Students to be able to articulate gaps and theories of human thinking Presentation and essay writing on exams Group work and class debate

It start with what student should know and understand, followed by what is the desired result and understanding and finally what learning activities will promote skulls, knowledge and student understanding.

A large ratio of students achieves little success because of the emphasis by the forces on performance. The majority end up leaving school for little reason.

In backward design, instruction focuses on understanding, not just activities, and assessment is designed before the lesson plan, and students get to know what exactly they need to know. The outcome for the level is the main focus and the curriculum taught. It can be hard to conceptualize an assessment before deciding on instructions and lessons. In backward design, the assessment goes through the following stages:

  • Based on what the students know, where they are headed, and what is required of them
  • Exploring ideas being equipped by the student, with an understanding of outcomes that are taught.
  • Student are given time to revise and rehearse their work and the student is evaluated the knowledge he has learnt.

Example of the backward design in nutrition lesson:

Step 1: Identifying the desired goal of the lesson and outcomes

The expectation regarding nutrition is that students understand nutrition, a balanced diet, and eating habits. The teacher wants his students to understand the elements of good nutrition and that they can plan a good balanced diet for themselves.

Steps 2: Desired assessments This measures the progress

The teacher creates an evaluation task where the students are to design a weekly meal plan for a camp. The goal of the task is a good and tasty nutrition balance menu.

Step 3: Learning experience and designing activities that help students do well in the assessment. Here is where the teacher plans the lesson for his students.

The teacher determines the skills and knowledge the students need in order for them to complete the task he has given. So, the student will need to know the food groups available, also they will need to know human nutritional need like proteins, sugar, vitamins, minerals, etc. and the food that can give back these needs. The students will also need to know how to read the different nutrition labels. The teacher specifies the resources needed to get to know the requirements. The teacher also specifies the teaching methods; that is, it will include direct instructions, cooperative learning, and group work.

Integrated course design:

It was developed in 2013 by L. Dee it explains the methodology in details the backward design. It arranges backward design in a simultaneous planning.

Situation factors:

This model guides the instructor in the college in 12 steps for creating outcomes, classroom activities, assessments, and potential challenges

The first step is for the instructor to identify situation factors, second he identify the learning goals that are important, formulating assessment process and feedback of the student, then he chooses the learning activities and effective teaching. The instructor then creates a structure for the course, creating a teaching strategy. He then develops the grading system and solutions to possible problems. The course syllabus is written, and a plan is laid for evaluation of the course and teaching.

Integrated design includes considering environment and context factors that affect student learning. This design is chosen with the backward design and consideration of inclusive and faculty-student assessment.

It deals with key information, which is important for students to understand and remember the facts, formulae, and concepts in the future. Also, the key ideas that are important for students to understand in the course offered are as follows: The student is able to relate to the subjects and able to understand personal and social implications.

In integrated courses, the subjects are integrated and address issues of time and context. It’s a model that drives knowledge for personal and social transformation. It provides a response to an increasingly complex world, global interconnection, an increase of complexity and rapid knowledge expansion, and real-world problems and issues. It helps students engage in creative projects, critical thinking, and practical skills and also helps students understand the significance of personal and social aspects.

The use of backward design has a lot of importance:

  • The backward design focuses on student learning and understanding.
  • It also offers instructor to focus on activities and instructions, it focuses on teachers teaching rather than learning.
  • To the instructor, backward design encourages intentions during the design to establish the purpose of doing something. It provides guidance for instruction and lesson design, units, and courses. After the desired results are identified, the instructors have an easy time developing assessment and learning outcomes.
  • When the desired goals or results are designed the instructor has a better idea of what the learners want to get from the learning activities. It eliminates the fact of doing things for the sake of doing because the instructor’s purpose to fit the desired goals.
  • In backward design, teaching is not just content students engage in, but it is ensuring students have the resources to understand.
  • It gives what students need to know and understand in order to progress. In addition, it focuses on insights and learning activities to achieve certain goals, and student progression is different from other traditional models where students focus on skills rather than simple facts.
  • Based on the strategy in backward design and integrated course design, when the two models are used, the curriculum will be of high value to both the instructor and the student in that knowledge and skills are essential but not sufficient. They also provide a relationship between in-class content and out-of-class realities, as well as an in-depth understanding of complex issues and breadth.
  • It also enhances experimental and action learning for students and moving from merely memorizing and reciting facts to engaging in concepts and ideas, self, and society (integrated learning)
  • It focuses on the results of learning, maintaining outcomes for learners to graduate, and a standard assessment.


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Michigan State University workshop “Backward Design” by Cori Fata-Hartley—backward-course design

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Backward Course Design: Making the End the Beginning:



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