Developing a Curriculum

Recently I asked a friend of mine to give me pointers on how to develop a curriculum (he used to teach an education PHD program), after discussing his response on Twitter, people asked me to put it somewhere, so here it is:

Process to develop a curriculum:

Purpose. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing.

  • You know how to do this.

Product. Start with the end in mind.

  • What does the student look like when they walk out the door at the end of the training.

  • Usually, we break these down into Knowledge, Skills, or Attitudes.

  • Sometimes it’s helpful to see a photograph or drawing of a someone who finished the program and just talk about what they can do that makes them successful.

  • This “product” should be connected and help you accomplish your mission

Practices. Then ask yourself, “How do people become like this?"

  • If you can break down your Product into 3-5 bit-sized chunks, then see how people learn each one of those skills, gain each one of those knowledge points, and how to they gain the attitudes you want them to have.

  • This one is much easier the more experience you have in seeing people develop the “Product.”

  • This is also easier to determine when you understand Learning Theory.

  • The results from this section will result in a list of:

    •        Activities or experiences

    •        Resources. What books, website, teachers, software, etc. will help them learn more effectively and efficiently

    •        Assessments. How you would know if the activity was helpful?

Plans. Make your plans based on the practices you’ve determined you’ve needed.


On a related topic, Chad Fowler posted an interesting blog post about what LivingSocial is doing to change the software development education.

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