Curriculum Design Process

A curriculum design is a structured process that deliberately plans, organizes, and designs the learning strategies, processes to be involved, materials to be used, and learning experiences. The design is much more than just organizing the learning materials; it also involves making sure the physical, psychological, social, and digital factors or environments fit the learner. This essay explains the design process of a curriculum.

The National Academies Press explains the required steps for developing a curriculum design. The first step is to establish goals and standards (The National Academies Press, n.d.). It is crucial to establish why the curriculum is being designed—the purpose that it will serve, and for who.  The designing committee needs to develop goals and standards that will guide them throughout the process. In some cases, states require all learning institutions to apply similar standards to a particular design. For instance, there are specific standards for designing science and mathematics curriculums that may apply to all schools undertaking the subjects. Nevertheless, this step aims to have goals and standards that will guide the committee in accomplishing other steps.


The second step is to build a shared vision. Goals and standards are not enough in binding the team together. Teachers, administrators, and everyone else involved in the design agree on a common vision about the curriculum. While building the vision, the committee should consider several factors. Firstly, what and how students will learn, what educators will do to support students in learning, and what both students and educators expect. Other factors include how students will be assessed, the evidence for performance, and what parents, businesses, community, and administrators should do to enhance high performance.

After identifying goals, standards and building a shared vision, the third step is to draft the curriculum framework. It involves organizing the content and sequencing it according to grade levels. Some topics come first while others come last, and sequentially grouping the units and courses. The concepts are organized in line with the instructional materials. The main idea behind this step is to build coherence within the design such that the units are well-sequenced, and students can understand the concepts as they follow each other.

The next step is to identify instructional materials that best suit the set of standards and concepts. Teachers need to have materials that will help them instruct students effectively. The materials are selected and reviewed based on their availability and by considering whether they fit the syllabus or not. Some of the common materials are textbooks, teacher’s guides, practical books, etcetera. The committee needs to be keen on this step because it may not have time to review the materials afterwards. The materials are crucial in learning because they enhance students’ understanding (Sarkar Arani, 2017). The committee must also note the forms of materials available. For instance, electronic resources are more practical than hard resources in the current educational context. Therefore, a 21st curriculum design should be more welcoming to ebooks, virtual labs, and other computerized resources.

Having established the goals and standards, described the vision, analyzed the concepts, and reviewed the instructional materials, the last step is to refine the curriculum design. Refining starts with clarifying student’s understanding of the concepts assigned to grade levels. The concepts in each grade must align with the intellectual capacity of the students. For instance, grade four students’ concepts should not be below their intellectual standards. They should neither be too complex nor too simple. Refining the curriculum also involves identifying gaps and addressing them. The framework might have some missing concepts or inappropriate information; the committee identifies any such mistakes to ensure it is error-free.

After refining and making sure the curriculum is good, the process does not end at that juncture. The committee must evaluate the program. Evaluation means that it should formulate a strategy and schedule after which the program will be evaluated for improvements. Designing a curriculum is an ongoing process that requires improvements depending on current situations. It is because times change, and the curriculum might be forced to adapt. Lastly, after everything is set and complete, the curriculum is approved to teach students.

To sum up, the committee must develop a curriculum to follow all the steps involved. Firstly, establishing goals and standards that will guide them throughout the process is crucial. Secondly, they need to develop a shared vision before drafting the framework. The vision brings out the picture of what the framework will look. Drafting the framework is the fourth step and should involve organizing and sequencing concepts according to grade levels. After that, the committee identifies instructional materials to help teachers teach the students. The materials are crucial because they enhance understanding. Up to that point, the framework is already complete, but it must be refined. Refining involves clarifying the understanding of students based on the concepts on each grade level. It also involves identifying and addressing any gaps within the framework. Lastly, the curriculum is evaluated and approved for use.


Sarkar Arani, M. (2017). Raising the quality of teaching through Kyouzai Kenkyuu – the study of teaching materials. International Journal For Lesson And Learning Studies, 6(1), 10-26.

The National Academies Press. (n.d.). Process for designing a curriculum program | designing mathematics or science curriculum programs: A guide for using mathematics and science education standards | The National Academies Press. The National Academies Press.