Most curriculum documents contain nine key components. In some cases, a curriculum will be presented in a single document (what many call a syllabus). It is also common to create an instructor’s manual that presents individual unit plans, learning activities, and assessments. The key components of such a manual include:

  • Introduction—the purpose and goals of the curriculum
  • Audience—a brief description of the intended students, including prerequisite skills and knowledge levels, and demographics
  • Outcomes—a clear articulation of the observable and measurable skills and knowledge students will need to demonstrate that indicates mastery of course content within the curriculum
  • Content framework—a detailed outline of the major topics and sub-topics that will be taught in individual courses, ideally matched to learning outcomes
  • Unit plans—lesson plans that organize content and learning objectives into discrete units
  • Verification of learning—methods the instructor and students use to determine whether the learning objectives have been met
  • Delivery methodologies—teaching strategies and learning activities that will be used to deliver the content, including problems to solve, case studies, scenarios, hands-on labs, two-way exchanges of information such as question and answer with an instructor, small group activities, discussions, and real-life experiences
  • Resources and references—sources of information or teaching methods
  • Program evaluation and modification—a strategy for continually revising and updating the curriculum based on how well it is meeting the instructional purposes and needs of the target audience.

For a more complete discussion of curriculum development, read the complete article by Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) staff member Diane DePuydt, Basic Guidelines for Training Curriculum.

Another good general resource for curriculum development can be found in the Encyclopedia of Informal Education.


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