Curriculum design can be described as block-based, concept-based, competency-based, and problem-based. Block-based models of curriculum development provide a means to create a shared understanding of the content, process, and goals for a given lesson or unit (VanTassel-Baska & Brown, 2021). Competency-based curricula require skills to be demonstrated before progressing to new content, while problem-based learning requires students to use knowledge from one area to solve problems in another. Problem-based curriculum development and implementation models have been advocated as an alternative educational approach to more traditional forms of delivery.
Differences among the Curriculum Development Concepts
The block-based curricula mainly focus on skills and facts while the concepts are more conceptual and rely on reasoning and problem-solving to accomplish learning objectives (Handayani, 2018). The competency-based curricula focus mainly on the student’s ability to memorize information, while problem-based curricula help students resolve the present problems. Learning is not related to factual details but instead focuses on how new information can be connected with prior knowledge or experience. A good example would be design engineering, where the goal is to design a product using previous knowledge to solve economic considerations and social responsibility issues.
The block-based design is intended to meet the needs of students who take multiple classes at one time and require many lesson plans that cover a broad range of topics. The block-based curriculum is a model of instruction that divides the learning process into small steps or blocks. Students are presented with information on a topic and then take tests to prove they have mastered each concept. A problem-based curriculum allows students to go through each module at their own pace and offers more real-world scenarios to be able to relate to what they are learning (Grant, 2018). Students learn through integrated activities that have subject matter linked together, so it makes sense for them, rather than just having a class on math or science with no other subjects.
Similarities of the Curriculum Development Concepts
Block-based, concept-based, competency-based, and problem-based curricular types are all different but have commonalities (VanTassel-Baska & Brown, 2021). These include having multiple threads of knowledge that run through the entire curriculum, each emphasizing certain concepts or skills and focusing heavily on addressing conceptual weaknesses with practical application. Competency-based, problem-based, concept-based, and block-based curricular types are crucial since they all help learners succeed. These curricular types help students understand the relationship between instructional design and curriculum models, including their characteristics, strengths, and weakness.
Types Of Curricula Built From Each Model Or Concept
Block-based approach: A block-based system allows variety in what you can do with this model. When modeling the concept or lesson, a teacher could pick and choose the pieces they like and ignore the rest. Concept-based approach: Each topic is divided into several related concepts in a concept-based curriculum (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). These concepts use examples such as astronauts in space suits on Earth vs. astronauts on Mars to help students understand that both planets have similar gravitational pull but are affected differently by gravity due to size differences. Competency-based approach: When using this method, it is essential to decide what competencies the child will need to meet before moving on to other subjects. Problem-based learning: With this method, you focus more on learning how to create solutions.
Educators have been using the block-based curriculum since it promotes creativity, social skills, and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, the concept-based introduces ideas and disciplines which govern the student in succeeding and uniting the ideas together under more critical principles. In problem-solving curricula, students are taught to think critically about their work and subject matter, therefore, helping them to engage in the process. With a competency-based curriculum, a student’s learning gains are evaluated through performance assessments rather than traditional evaluations based on multiple-choice exams and homework assignments (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). The problem-based curricula have become a method for teaching students to think critically and divergently about their work and subject matter, helping them actively engage in the process.
The competency-based curriculum is the cornerstone of competency-based education, which focuses on students’ learning outcomes rather than time spent in class (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). This type of curriculum also allows students to begin working towards their degree as soon as they have mastered a particular skill or subject area in just a few hours or days.
Models and concepts that would not work well
The model that cannot work well in curriculum development is the problem-based model. This is because it requires students’ engagement in problem-solving and the use of narrative. Secondly, the competency-based model would be very difficult for people who have special needs or have difficulties learning any formal subjects (Handayani, 2018). On the other hand, the problem-based model is ideal for independent learners who can work independently. The most preferred curricula model is block-based since it is easy to deliver information to students.
In contrast, a concept-based curriculum would be a good fit for high school level students as it teaches students in an organized way. A course can be designed around a concept that is clearly defined and allows all learning to relate to this core topic (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). Students should be allowed to explore topics on their own and work at their own pace. Being exposed to different ways of thinking will allow them to make connections with other concepts they are studying or have studied.
The competency-based curriculum would be challenging for people with special needs or difficulties learning formal subjects. Unfortunately, the administrative costs have skyrocketed, making it difficult to roll out the program. There are many other problems as well.
To conclude, curriculum models; block-based, concept-based, competency-based, and problem-based are models that help learners succeed through developing a relationship between their instructional design and curriculum concepts. The model that does not work well is problem-based since it requires students’ engagement and requires narrative in problem-solving.
Grant, J. (2018). Principles of curriculum design. Understanding medical education: Evidence, theory, and practice, 71-88.
VanTassel-Baska, J., & Brown, E. F. (2021). An analysis of gifted education curriculum models. Methods and materials for teaching the gifted, 107-138.
VanTassel-Baska, J. (2021). Introduction to the integrated curriculum model. In Content–Based Curriculum for high-ability learners (pp. 15-32). Routledge.
Handayani, M. (2018). Developing thematic-integrative learning module with problem-based learning model for elementary school students. Jurnal Prima Edukasia, 6(2), 166-176.