Curriculum planning

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Curriculum planning refers to the creation of a curriculum.

There is no clear definition of what a curriculum is. Some definitions are rather centered around student activities, e.g. curriculum is the planned engagement of learners. Some are more subject centered, e.g. "curriculum is the subject matter taught to students or an arrangement of instructional materials. Furthermore, curriculum can refer to what a school or educational system prescribes for a specific group of learners or at what the teacher does in class. But generally speaking curriculum refers to a macro level as opposed to meso level (e.g. a course) or a micro level (e.g. a lesson).

“The curriculum of a school is the formal and informal content and process by which learners gain knowledge and understanding, develop skills, and alter attitudes, appreciations, and values under he auspices of that school (Doll, 1996:15)”

See also: competence map, lesson planning

Taxonomies of curriculum elements

Knowledge Types

Carson (2004) distinguishes:

  • Empirical knowledge
  • Rational Knowledge
  • Conventional Knowledge
  • Conceptual Knowledge
  • Cognitive Process Skills
  • Psychomotor Knowledge
  • Affective Knowledge
  • Narrative Knowledge
  • Received Knowledge

See also: learning types and learning levels, since most instructional designers rather would use categories like the ones defined by Bloom and subsequent work by Gagné, Merril etc.


A curriculum planner is a tool to help organizing various elements of a curriculum, such as the core objectives (e.g. a competences to achieve), subject, unit definitions, activities, assessments, and resources.

  • CCMap (Oliver et al. 2010) is a simple excel workbook that can aggregate course information from "Unit worksheets" and display six course analysis.
  • TODCM is (quote): “the very first open source software application for curriculum mapping. No software license fees. [....] It helps schools and organizations to implement a curriculum mapping tool according to their own specific requirements. TODCM is based on the user interface concept of the Zurich Mapping System (ZMS) developed by Greg Curtis, Zurich International School” (added 4/2013).


  • Gross Davis, Barbara, Tools for Teaching, Preparing or Revising a Course HTML, retrieved 17:52, 24 July 2007 (MEST). (book excerpt).


  • Bloom, B. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York: David McKay Co.
  • Carson, Robert N. (2004). A Taxonomy of Knowledge Types for Use in Curriculum Design, Interchange, Vol. 35/1, 59-79, 2004. PDF (Access restricted)
  • Doll, R. C. (1996). Curriculum Improvement: Decision making and process. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • March, J. K., Peters, K. H. (2002). Curriculum Development and Instructional Design in the Effective Schools Process.
  • Oliver, Beverly et al. (2010). Mapping the Curriculum for Quality Enhancement: Refining a Tool and Processes for the Purpose of Curriculum Renewal, Proceedings of AuQF2010 PDF
  • Posner, G and Rudnitsky, A (1982) Course Design, A Guide to Curriculum Development for Teachers. New York: Longman, Inc.
  • T. Valiga and C. Magel (2001) Curriculum Definitions and Influencing Factors, Faculty Development Institute, NLN