Good curriculum design takes place in a system. The system comprises three main components: curriculum content, teaching and assessment. The design of academic programmes and the modules that make up programmes are based on the learning outcomes approach, which starts with the questions:
- ‘What do we/I want the students to be able to do as a result of undertaking this programme or module’?
- ‘What teaching methods will we/I use to encourage students to achieve these outcomes?’
- ‘What assessment task(s) will tell us/me that the students have achieved the intended learning outcomes?’
- ‘What criteria will we/I use to judge the students’ achievement in the assessment tasks?’
Learners construct meaning through the learning activities they engage in (learning system). Staff provide a learning environment that supports the learning activities that are appropriate to the intended learning outcomes. The key here is that the teaching methods employed and the assessment tasks that students are asked to undertake are aligned to the learning activities assumed in the intended learning outcomes. Biggs (2002) calls this constructive alignment.