Principles of Curriculum Design

Grant, Janet (2018). Principles of Curriculum Design. In: Swanwick, Tim; Forrest, Kirsty and O'Brien, Bridget C. eds. Understanding Medical Education: Evidence, Theory, and Practice, Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, pp. 71–88.



This chapter discusses curriculum design as it applies to undergraduate medical education and postgraduate training. Curriculum debates centred on instructional skills and ideas about how students learn. The curriculum was to be made up of objectives and experiences with relatively traditional divisions of content, but all based on the health needs of society, the philosophy of scientific thinking, and the professional characteristics of physicians. Cognitive theories of development offer additional insights for curriculum designers to consider. In a discipline‐based curriculum, knowledge and skills are presented as subject areas in their own right and integration has to occur entirely in the student's head through putting it to use in practice. Curriculum design encompasses many other factors that derive from the democratisation of social processes, the development of educational theory, political imperatives, and economic concerns.

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