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Challenges with Current Curriculum Design Process and the Solution

Challenges with Current Curriculum Design Process and the Solution

August 10, 2018

Manage gaps and redundancies in your curriculum design

The freedom to design curriculum from scratch is exciting, but the reality is that schools and districts are not always prepared for the process problems that can arise from shifting curriculum design internally. How do we support delivering high-quality and meaningful units?

  • State or subject standards may be new, and/or teacher familiarity with the standards may range widely—it’s difficult to create lessons for standards not previously taught. 
  • Teachers may be accustomed to working individually and not understand why or how to best collaborate with their in-building peers or subject colleagues in the district
  • Professional Development in curriculum design varies widely, not all teachers have had consistent exposure to training

Let’s delve a little deeper into those ideas.

1) Frequency and alignment of standards

Common Core states have had a few years to incorporate those standards, skills and goals into their curriculum, but private schools or those states not using those standards, implementation is likely not 100% up to speed. This also applies to integration of newer subject standards such as the 3D NGSS standards and K12 computer science. Using a standards-based curriculum design platform, such as the one offered by Eduplanet21, offers a wide database of standards to easily select and add in and customize appropriately throughout units, under the respected framework of Understanding by Design®.

2) Importance of Collaboration in Curriculum Design

Most teachers have developed curriculum on their own, as individuals. They can be strong in some areas, and weak in others, and are accustomed to teaching with whatever they’ve come up with. Now technology and cloud shared files can add a critical element of collaborative learning into the process that not only improves output, but also improves the curriculum design experience for all team members and the admins monitoring their progress to deliver intentional teaching and appropriate assessments. Depending on the platform chosen, a structured workflow process designed for transparency can support collaboration with:

  • Consistency of standards alignment
  • Identifying gaps and redundancies in the unit
  • Holistic approach to build the unit for individuals and teams to see what team members are doing and improve on it

Another benefit to collaboration while designing? It just might also improve camaraderie and team morale.

3) Professional Development is key to success

As the saying goes, “a rising tide raises all boats,” meaning that elevating the status of a few ends up helping everyone around them. Which also applies to professional development for curriculum design. Here’s a quick checkpoint:


Did everyone who is on the design team get hands-on training on best practices? Was the training done over time, and with a chance to practice theories and ask questions in between training sessions?


Our observation is that it’s rare, and a luxury of both time and budget that most teachers and schools don’t often get. Yet it’s imperative to have professional development available to improve the curriculum design process. Academically rigorous curriculum concepts are complex and require more exposure than a “one and done.” Planning for PD to be delivered onsite, online, on-demand, or a combination of all delivery systems will pay back to fortify the quality of the curriculum output when everyone has met and agreed to practice consistent PD practices. Understanding its importance to successful curriculum design, Eduplanet21 offers both free and paid on-demand, online PD called Learning Paths. Some of the paid topics are reasonably prices if there’s a specific topic you might want to review. Topics include: Building Blocks to Literacy, Tools for Flipped Learning and Universal Design for Learning. 

With these tips in mind, you school or district can choose products and services that are equipped to better help you and your team to address the challenges and gaps in your curriculum design team.

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