Curriculum Designing: Source For The Right Ingredient

Curriculum Designing: Source For The Right Ingredient
Summary: The push to get content that is engaging should be driven by a well-designed curriculum.

Curriculum Designing That Stands The Test Of Time

Curriculum design is a critical step in creating content engagement, yet many learning programs fail because, as content designers, we get stuck on the content. We create content that does not serve any business problem and with no end in mind. In the end, we are left with people with a lot of information in their heads, but no practical skills that can be implemented.

Curriculum designing should not be confused with course designing. While curriculum design can happen on a smaller, single-course level, the term, more often than not, describes the development of a full program of several instructional elements. When designing a curriculum program, consider applying the criteria below, among other considerations.

Criteria For Designing A Curriculum Program

1. Solve For A Business Learning Problem

Like starting any business, solving for a business problem allows you to have a goal in mind. What is the current state, and what is the expected outcome after the training? The question that lingers is: at the end of this learning program, the learners or the business will be able to…what?

2. Define Your Audience

Segmenting your audience allows you to analyze their peculiarities, their learning habits, and how they fit into the business problem you are looking to resolve. The question that lingers is: how will your audience fit into this program?

3. Set Clear Goals

Goals allow you to get buy in from stakeholders and those whom you want to engage in your curriculum. These goals should be made in collaboration with your stakeholders. They can be broad organizational goals, or specific cohort goals. The question you should look to answer is: how achievable are your goals, and what direction are you heading in?

4. Determine Your Delivery Mechanism

Your delivery mechanism allows you to shape your curriculum artefacts. Is it necessary to employ a full eLearning course or will microlearning be sufficient? Are you employing a blended learning format, or will eLearning suffice?

These four criteria, when applied, allow you to envision the bigger picture of your curriculum design. They set the stage for the creation or sourcing of content.

Curriculum designing should allow a Learning and Development (L&D) specialist to source for content, without necessarily creating new content. With a business learning problem in mind, a curriculum design means they can source for content that will serve that need. I can almost guarantee you that there is great content in the marketplace and with a proper curriculum design, you can source for the content that solves your niche problem.

Companies may source for content or courses that will remain impractical for their learning purposes, if they fail to retain an L&D company or an L&D specialist whose primary objective is creating a curriculum design. Learning that is without direction can lack meaning, and may end up being a distraction rather than beneficial to end users in the long run. When approaching a Learning and Development company, you should look to retain them for their specialization in designing curriculums. This ensures there will be value added to your learning investment.

Content generators have to remember that we are first and foremost learning analysts who create objectives-led training. This means we need not only create great content, but that we must also be able, through curriculum designs, to create learner journeys in order to reach achievable business learning goals for our stakeholders. Curriculum designing allows you to suggest learning activities for your clients and focus group. Over time, these focus groups create a steady pipeline of clients as you cater for similar needs. This is why curriculum designing can be a source of great client satisfaction, clear client provisioning, and a source of clients. To illustrate, let us take an example.


"X", a content company, has created a curriculum design that enhances the onboarding experience of new recruits in a company. "X" has created various onboarding instruction elements that improve on assimilation, acclimation, social integration, communication, and information technology, among other design objectives. Every year, new recruits go through the training. "X" has been solving for a business need of higher retention rates for new employees. Retention rates have increased by 20% after year 2 of the program. New recruits are able to seamlessly become part of the company's organizational family through the training.

"X" has been able to define a business problem, has created a segmented profile, and has clear goals that are reflected in its training outcomes each year. "X", in effect, has created a long-term pipeline of a segmented client base (new recruits) through curriculum designing.


Curriculum designing may include learning experiences other than eLearning. However, with the growth and the established processes in andragogy, it is unlikely that it will exclude eLearning. It may go deeper, as a full curriculum usually consists of many different types of learning experiences. Breaking your full design effort down into more manageable design levels may be necessary, taking time to validate each level in order to create a complete learner journey.

An Instructional Designer is therefore not hampered by a lack of great content, but rather by a lack of know-how in curriculum designing. It should be clear that even with the development of learner tools including a great Learning Management System or Learning Experience Platform, without proper curriculum designing, great content can become impractical.

How are you creating your curriculum designs? What are your top criteria? Share with us.