Curriculum Design Planning Models


The educational program is a systemically organized unity of the goals, values, and content of education and the conditions for managing the educational process. The availability of curriculum designs is the result of the administration’s activities. Currently, authors and curriculum programs on academic subjects are used to ensure the educational process. Curriculum designs prepared by teams and individual teachers are developed based on existing sample programs. The educational result of students directly depends on the program chosen or compiled by the teacher and the textbooks used.

Overview of the Curriculum Design Process

The subject-based approach assumes that the designed educational programs should be focused on the formation of crucial aspects of the student’s future professional activity. That is knowledge, skills, and the associated ability to adapt to a wide range of issues related to the primary, basic type of activity. The distinctive features of taking this approach into account in the development of the curriculum are variability, non-linearity, and individual orientation. The curriculum design is a well-structured and complex pedagogical system; therefore, these principles and approaches serve as the fundamental positions of its creation or construction.

Summary of the Curriculum Design Theory

Curriculum design theory consists of the fact that the process includes two interrelated and constantly “scrolling” loops. They demonstrate the continuous improvement of the educational process aimed at achieving the goals of the educational program and the planned learning outcomes. According to McConnell, Conrad, and Uhrmacher (2020), the external loop demonstrates the methods of forming, evaluating, and adjusting (if necessary) the goals of the curriculum design.

The inner circle shows how learning outcomes are consistently planned, achieved, and evaluated. The relationship between the internal and external loop demonstrates that through the assessment of the achievement of learning outcomes, the achievement of the goals of the educational program is checked. It is possible as an adjustment of the planned learning outcomes (and, accordingly, the educational process) to ensure the achievement of the goals of the program.

Explanation of Curriculum Design Models

Subject-Centered Design Model

In the subject-centered curriculum design model, the primary role is played by the orientation of education and its subjects to the results. It includes the formation of the necessary general cultural and professional competencies, self-determination, and the development of individuality which implies the improvement of educational activities (Clementi & Terrill, 2017). The subject-centered curriculum design model focuses on the result of education, and the sum of the learned information is considered the education outcome.

Learner-Centered Design Model

The learner-centered curriculum design model aims to reveal the student’s personality; it should help it manifest, develop, gain selectivity, and resist social influences. The purpose of such a schedule is to create a system of psychological conditions that allow working in a single classroom team with a focus on individuals. This curriculum is designed to take into account individual cognitive capabilities, needs, and interests. The personality-oriented curriculum assumes the possibility of creating knowledge by the students themselves. Knowledge is not transmitted to them for memorization in a ready-made form but is constructed, extracted, and generated by them during different activities.

Problem-Centered Design Model

In recent years, problem-oriented learning has been intensively promoted as one of the most effective innovative forms of activating the educational process. This curriculum design model allows to development of such competencies as skills and abilities of independent work planning, mastery of system analysis, teamwork, and the organization of interaction in solving problems. The problem-oriented curriculum design model can be effectively used when teaching several disciplines to activate students’ work, increase the level of residual knowledge and acquire valuable competencies.

Brief Summary of Design Approaches

Subject-Centered Approach

When compiling subject-centered curriculum design models, the content of education should reflect the experience of social practice, the main types of human activity. The mastery of it is carried out through the assimilation of knowledge, skills, forms, and methods of thinking accumulated by humanity in the form of social experience. Thus, when referring to this model, characterized by the absence of a differentiated approach, traditional tasks should be used. The presence of a rigid set of conditions and requirements, and the unambiguity of the initial data and solutions are the main characteristics of this curriculum schedule.

Learner-Centered Approach

When compiling the learner-centered curriculum design model, an educational program is collected for each student, which is individual. It is based on knowledge of the characteristics of the student as a person with all their inherent features only. Professional supervision of a student should be made out of an individual map of his cognitive and mental development and serve as the primary document for determining differentiated forms of learning. When drawing up a curriculum, conditions are provided for the student to get to know themselves better.

Problem-Centered Approach

When creating a problem-centered curriculum design model, it is necessary to organize the educational process to aim at an independent, active solution to the problem situation set by the teacher. The problem as a principle of learning requires a particular organization of knowledge. It dictates a unique method of mastering the material “through the mental actions of the student to search for this information”(Barros-Bailey, 2021, p. 60). Solving a problem requires students to have an initial amount of knowledge. It will be impossible to solve the problem without it, which also needs to be considered when drawing up a schedule.


In drawing up educational programs, it is necessary to consider the feasibility of using a specific form of work for different subjects. To design a curriculum, it is first required to determine the training goals about a specific specialty, functional and subject contexts, and teaching methods that allow realizing the stated purposes.


Barros-Bailey, M. (2021). Life care planning education: Evidence-based curriculum design using contemporary standards. Journal of Life Care Planning, 19(1), 59-64.

Clementi, D., & Terrill, L. (2017). The keys to planning for learning: Effective curriculum, unit, and lesson design. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

McConnell, C., Conrad, B., & Uhrmacher, P. B. (2020). Lesson planning with purpose: Five approaches to curriculum design. Teachers College Press.

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