Introduction: What Is Curriculum Development?
The multi-step process of designing and enhancing a course that is taught at a school or university is called curriculum development. The plan not only acts as a road map for the course but also enables presenting the material to students in a systematic and organized way. Planning one’s tasks skillfully allows one to get the best results as quickly as possible without becoming sidetracked by unimportant details. In addition, the curriculum aids in deciding what actions students should take to advance toward their goals. What competencies must they acquire along the way? What pillars must be established right away? Similar to a cross-country trip, the likelihood that an individual will get lost on the route increases if a clear understanding of where one is going and how they are going to get there is absent. As a result, it is essential to comprehend the plan of action fully.
Nurse Educator’s Role and Responsibilities
Teaching is more than merely delivering information to students through lectures and directing them during clinical practice. Teachers should be knowledgeable about student learning styles, teaching strategies, and techniques for assessing students’ progress. Faculty members are also responsible for creating a curriculum that not only complies with current standards of practice but also prepares students for future nursing work. This responsibility includes real-life classroom, online, and clinical learning. The curriculum must be continuously updated to reflect developments in the healthcare industry, as well as the demands of patients and the general population. Curriculums that equip nurses for the evolving healthcare industry and new care delivery models must be created by nursing school educators. To guarantee that students receive a high-quality education, nursing educators are crucial in creating and updating the nursing education curriculum and other initiatives. They create cutting-edge student learning activities, assessment methods, and exams for their classes, participate on committees that decide on admissions and promotions for the nursing program, and assess their nursing programs and courses. Moreover, they counsel and assist students in their studies and carry out other tasks required to give students a high-quality educational experience (Oermann et al., 2022, pp. 7-9).
The NLN Competencies for Nurse Educators
The NLN competencies for nurse educators are:
- Enhance learning
- Facilitate learner progress and socialization
- Facilitate learner development and critical thinking by employing assessment and evaluation techniques
- Participate in the creation of curriculum and the assessment of program results
- Be a change agent and leader in nursing education by performing these duties
- Be devoted to improving the quality of your work as a nurse educator through continuous improvement process
- Pursue scholarship
- Function in the educational environment.
Nurses and other healthcare professionals must receive orientation, training education, and instruction from nursing professional development practitioners who also teach in healthcare settings. The NLN competencies for nurse educators are: Enhance learning (provide a good learning environment in the classroom, labs, and clinical settings to facilitate student learning and development of outcomes); Facilitate learner progress and socialization (help students in developing as nurses with critical values and behaviors); and Facilitate learner development and critical-thinking by employing assessment and evaluation techniques (use a variety of methods to gauge learning); Participate in the creation of curriculum and the assessment of program results (create program objectives and curricula that prepare graduates to operate successfully); Be a change agent and leader in nursing education by performing these duties; Be devoted to improving the quality of your work as a nurse educator through continuous improvement process; pursue scholarship (consider scholarship an essential component of faculty work); and Function in the educational environment (work well in the academic environment taking into account many influences that affect students’ education) (as cited in Keating et al., 2021).
The Role of Theory in Designing Curriculum
The ideas and cognitive science relating to learning, particularly adult learning, need to be understood by curriculum developers as they consider the instructional tactics to be used. The primary responsibility of curriculum developers is to support participants’ learning. The ideas of instrumental, humanistic, transformative, social, motivational, reflective, and constructivist theories of learning for adults can be found in the literature (Mukhalati & Taylor, 2019, p. 2). An instrumental theory of learning, like cognitivism, for instance, places more emphasis on the learner’s internal environment and cognitive structures than on the context or external environment. By providing context for activities, including comprehension, information processing, perception, reflection, metacognition, and memory, cognitive learning theories aim to improve learning (Mukhalati & Taylor, 2019, p. 3). Observational learning, reverse demonstration, interprofessional group work, role modeling, Socratic inquiries, and apprenticeship in real-world settings are all included in cognitive learning (Oermann et al., 2022, p. 36). Using these theories as a guide will help with medical education.
The Basis of the Program
Identifying and describing the health issue that will be solved within the curriculum’s parameters, as well as its current state and how it should be resolved, are the initial steps in developing the curriculum. The easier it is to construct a suitable curriculum to address a problem, the more precisely it is identified. The definition of curriculum goals and objectives, which in turn serves to focus instructional tactics and evaluate the curriculum, benefit significantly from the identification of problems combined with a targeted needs assessment. In other words, the curriculum is built around the subject’s problem.
The Choice of Courses and the Course Curriculum
The curriculum designer must carefully describe an approach to the problem and identify the problem in order to develop an effective and fast solution to a medical issue. The problem must first be identified, and then the developer must decide on four primary statements: the mission, vision, values, and ultimate goals. The program’s goal is stated in the mission statement. The future goals for students or the function of a health agency in the healthcare system are included in the vision statement. The values statement (philosophy) outlines the faculty’s beliefs regarding diversity, social justice, health, career, teaching and learning, and other topics. Finally, the program’s goals, which are based on the program’s mission, vision, and values, describe the program’s outcome (Oermann et al., 2022, p. 328). As a result, a strategy is created to follow the main course once it has been decided.
The learning outcomes of specialized training must be ascertained. Then, the required courses and lab work are chosen based on the training’s outcomes. The next step is to create a course design on a particular subject, such as “Computer Science and Technology in Healthcare Systems” (Oermann et al., 2022, p. 336). Content mapping is an excellent technique when teachers create a weekly lesson plan. The student will have a better understanding of what to anticipate from the course after thoroughly examining the map.
Content Mapping Tools
It should be noted that the process of content mapping requires introducing innovative tools that would enhance the process of learning, allowing students to build a clear understanding of the learning goals and their role in achieving them. Presently, opportunities for digital content mapping must be explored to enhance the efficacy of the specified process. Namely, the integration of digital frameworks for content mapping will facilitate the design of a collaborative environment where every participant will be able to contribute. Additionally, digital frameworks and platforms for content mapping will create premises for greater engagement levels among learners due to the high diversity in the range of techniques and approaches toward the process. Specifically, the subject matter can be transformed into a task similar to that of a game, which will encourage learners to participate more actively and become involved in the process.
Content Mapping Techniques
Furthermore, the discussion of techniques for carrying out content mapping needs to take place. Similarly, due to the increase in the extent of diversity in content mapping tools, the approaches toward the process in question have also become quite numerous and unique. Specifically, the technique of content analysis and its further arrangement in blocks that will serve as milestones of the learning process is typically seen as the most common technique. The specified solution helps track the progress effectively, thus maintaining the focus on the end goal while ensuring that students improve their current skills and acquire new ones consistently.
Another strategy for content management in the target scenario involves the use of lists as tools for prioritizing specific topics and introducing a layered approach to arranging the academic content. As a result, students can navigate the learning process easily by setting clear and achievable priorities. The specified approaches allow for keeping the learning process meaningful and purposeful and its goals attainable.
The development of effective content management strategies is not the only factor contributing to students’ performance, yet it still constitutes a vital part of it. Specifically, learners’ involvement in the development of the content mapping framework indicates that the extent of their enthusiasm for learning is sufficiently high. Consequently, their motivation to excel in their academic performance can be regarded as high. For this reason, it is believed that, with a proper leadership framework and the positive influence of an educator, the outcomes of involving learners in the content mapping process will lead not only to the development of effective learning plans but also to a stupendous rise in students’ motivation rates. Consequently, an increase in performance and their overall participation rate in classroom activities and the learning process, in general, is bound to rise.
The Systematic Program Assessment and Evaluation
The curriculum development process comes to a conclusion with evaluation and feedback. Individuals who are interested in the curriculum, particularly students, make decisions or judgments about it during the evaluation procedure. The evaluation step enables curriculum designers to ask and respond to a crucial question: Have the program’s aims and objectives been met? Information from the evaluation can be utilized to direct nurse educators to improve the curriculum. The assessment results can also be used to document the accomplishments of curriculum developers, support the curriculum, evaluate student performance, alter the curriculum, and serve as the foundation for presentations and publications.
There are various performance assessment methods that educators can utilize to direct their evaluation in a nursing school, in addition to theoretical approaches to evaluation. For instance, the CIPP model, developed in the 1960s by Daniel Stafflebeam, is a decision-oriented model that systematically collects data about a program to identify its strengths and weaknesses in terms of its delivery or content, improving its efficacy, or preparing for the future of the program. Because this framework integrates four levels of evaluation, users of this model frequently have a management-centric assessment mindset. The program’s context, input, process, and product are the four focus areas, with continual improvement as the overall goal. Evaluators begin with a context assessment before looking at the program’s resources and requirements, such as the scope of the assessment and the support it offers. This step also includes studying the historical framework and the cultural setting, among other things. Evaluators might enter the input evaluation phase of the model once the goals have been evaluated. The review stage of input evaluation is where the important stakeholders are identified, and the program budget is examined. Additionally, data on planning and implementation tactics, including human resources and a timeframe, are gathered at this stage. The third stage of process assessment is asking: What has been accomplished? Was it done well? What needs to be addressed for change? The third stage of process evaluation evaluates the program’s operations with a focus on continuous improvement. The effectiveness with which those outcomes are being handled is also measured by evaluators utilizing CIPP. In addition, they can enquire about the program’s sustainability and impact (Lippe & Carter, 2018). The program is successful if the results match those predicted at the problem identification step.
Revision Process and Reasons
However, if the outcomes of the curriculum do not meet the requirements of the course or include any flaws, then the curriculum should be changed and reformed in accordance with the needs, interests, and skills of the learner. The process of mapping the curriculum and gathering information from many sources to support future modifications are typically part of the revision of the curriculum. Learning outcomes are taught and aligned over a series of courses within an entire program using an assessment tool called curriculum mapping. To support the changes, it is required to compile data from a range of sources. Data can be gathered using both qualitative and quantitative techniques, such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews (Mitchell & Laing, 2016). Changes are necessary if it is better to reduce unneeded units, instructional strategies, and contents; to introduce new knowledge, techniques, and the most recent and updated instructional methods and content; to compare the theory courses and instructional techniques of the students; if the results do not meet the study’s objectives; if students display disinterest in-class activities; if test and assignment outcomes fall short of expectations.
In conclusion, the course curriculum has a significant impact on the quality of the education that nurses provide. As a result, it is essential to take responsibility when developing the course’s curriculum. The teaching strategies and learning theories are just one of many facets that are used in creating a curriculum. To ensure that the curriculum’s activities are as effective as possible, the nurse must possess a sufficient understanding of adult learning. A nurse must first determine the goals of the course and then develop a plan based on them when constructing the curriculum. After the course is over, it’s crucial to assess the curriculum to make sure the education being offered is of high quality. If the curriculum has faults, a revision must be held, and the curriculum must be improved.
Keating, S.A., Berland, A., Capone, K., & Chickering, M.J., (2021). Global nursing education: International resources meet the NLN Core Competencies for Nurse Educators. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 26(1). Web.
Lippe, M., & Carter, P. (2018). Using the CIPP model to assess nursing education program quality and merit. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 13(1), 9–13.
Mitchell, C., & Laing, C. M. (2019). Revision of an undergraduate nursing oncology course using the Taylor Curriculum Review Process. Canadian oncology nursing journal = Revue canadienne de nursing oncologique, 29(1), 47–51. Web.
Mukhalalati, B. A., & Taylor, A. (2019). Adult learning theories in context: A quick guide for healthcare professional educators. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development, 6.
Oermann, M., De Gagne, J., & Phillips, B. C. (2022). Teaching in nursing and role of the educator: The complete guide to best practice in teaching, evaluation, and curriculum development. Springer Publishing.