A written curriculum is essential for any structured education programme for the following reasons:
- it makes explicit the aims and objectives of the programme
- it describes the philosophy underpinning the programme and learning theories employed to deliver it
- it provides detailed lesson plans, including a description of learner and educator activities.
- it provides a reference for new educators to the programme and for external assessors underrating quality development visits.
Hence a curriculum is much more than a set of lesson plans. From the above, it will be seen that a key requirement in delivering structured education programmes is to have an underpinning philosophy which will guide the learning theories to be utilised and hence the delivery of programmes. The Network meeting in May 2006 was devoted to helping teams develop a philosophy. Encouragingly, the discussion revealed a large degree of consensus amongst participants, reflected in the following statement of philosophy. Following consultation with centres aligned to the Network, the steering group adopted this as the Philosophy for the Network.
You do not have to subscribe to this philosophy, although our experience tells us that you are likely to agree with much of it. The important thing is that the team of educators developing and delivering a course have to share the same philosophy, which should be made explicit.
The next stage is to identify the learning theory(ies) to be used. Social Learning Theory is the most widely used theory in education programmes. It describes the ways that people become confident to carry out different behaviours (self – efficacy), and consists of:
- mastery experience
vicarious experience (role modelling)
- learning by trying something out and observing the response eg an insulin dose ratio and measuring effect on blood glucose levels
verbal persuasion (action planning)
- problem solving in a group/learning from the experiences of others, eg how would I use the experience of someone having a hypo at night to change my own behaviour
- facilitator helps participants to identify their own issues and find their own solutions by asking appropriate questions, rather than telling them what to do, and it is formulated into an action plan with SMART* goals which can be reviewed and through which the participant has been able to identify barriers to behaviour change and develop strategies to overcome those barriers.
- facilitator helps participants identify and explain emotions relating to their illness eg “what worries you about running your blood glucose at that level?”
Ref: Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall.
*Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely
The next task is to put together the timetable for the programme, listing the topics for each session together with timings, for each day of the programme.
Finally a detailed lesson plan should be written for each session. This should include
Lesson plan to include detailed educator activity for each learning objective with supporting notes
- Timing within the programme
- Title and length of session
- Learning objectives and
- Overview to include process, learning theory, educator activity, participant activity and resources
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A Sample Curriculum can be found below in both word document and PDF document formats.
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