curriculum development comes from the latin word meaning race courseDeveloping a curriculum for a training seminar can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!  Following these steps will ensure a successful curriculum design.

Fun Fact: the first use of the word "curriculum" was early in the seventeenth century at the University of Glasgow here in Scotland! The word "curriculum" comes from the Latin word which means "a race" or "the course of the race". By following our six steps for curriculum development, you'll be sure your students can follow the course you plot for them.

Determine Your Target Audience

It is important to know who your audience will be so you can plan accordingly. The content of your seminar will most likely change depending on your audience. If you are training managers, the information presented will be different than if you are training hourly employees. The content of your seminar will vary depending on your audience so keep your audience in mind as you go through the following steps.

Develop Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives are the heart of your content. Goals are broad statements describing what the learner should be able to do once instruction is complete. Objectives are more specific and outline how each goal will be met. Here is an example:

  • Goal: Students will be able to use Microsoft Word.
  • Objective: Students will create a document including columns.
  • Objective: Students will format document according to specific directions about font, spacing, etc.

Both the goals and the objectives should be measurable so you can assess student mastery of the subject being taught (step 6). When writing goals and objectives you are doing backwards planning- thinking about the desired end result and then working backwards, creating steps to achieve that result.

Choose Your Instructional Strategy

There are many types of instruction to use beyond simple lecturing, for example:

  • the Socratic method
  • demonstration
  • brainstorming
  • group discussion
  • cooperative learning
  • role play
  • independent study

The key is to pick an instructional method that best suits your content. For example, a CPR or First Aid workshop will rely heavily on demonstration and role play as opposed to brainstorming.

Consider Logistics

Although this sounds like the step where you would actually teach, you’re still in the planning stages! Before you set foot into a classroom you’ll need to consider all the logistics. Things to think about include where and when your training will be held, what pieces of technology will be used, who will present, what materials are necessary and so on. Avoid common pitfalls such as not having the correct technology or having insufficient space by planning ahead.

Develop Assessments

If you have designed measurable goals and objectives the assessment piece should be fairly simple. Keeping in line with the previous example, an assessment for the students who learn how to use Microsoft Word would be to show you their document with the necessary requirements. Assessing your students in a CPR workshop may include demonstration of the proper techniques as well as a written exam. Your assessments don’t need to be long or complex but do need to demonstrate that your students learned what you wanted them to.

Evaluate Effectiveness

It is essential to gather feedback from your students so make sure you have an evaluation tool. Hearing their opinions of your training will help you to know ways to adjust or improve for next time if necessary. Beyond student evaluations, take time to think about what worked and what didn’t. Make a list of pros and cons once the training is finished. This information will enable you to make changes to aspects that did not go as smoothly and will better prepare you for teaching your curriculum again.