1st Edition

The Elements of Education for Curriculum Designers 50 Research-Based Principles Every Educator Should Know

    114 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    114 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    How should curriculum designers translate abstract learning outcomes into engaging learning experiences that get results? What is the right balance between depth and breadth or between content and skills? What methods should be used to continuously improve a curriculum over time? To answer these kinds of questions, the authors combined research from cutting-edge fields with their own first-hand experience to carefully curate fifty essential elements that demystify the work of curriculum design.

    Written for utility, clarity, and practical value, this book provides indispensable professional development for educators working in a wide range of fields—from teachers and school leaders to educational publishers and instructional designers. The elements included are applicable across primary, secondary, and higher education as well as for workforce development programs. The Elements of Education for Curriculum Designers is an invaluable resource for anyone aiming to help others learn more effectively.

    Acknowledgements  Introduction  1. Advance Organizers  2. Aesthetics  3. Alignment  4. Background Knowledge  5. Backward Design  6. Breadth vs. Depth  7. Capstones  8. Case Studies  9. Content vs. Skills  10. Course Guides  11. Crosswalks  12. Curriculum Assessment  13. Curriculum Maps  14. Curriculum vs. Program  15. Development Cycle  16. Enacted vs. Intended vs. Assessed  17. Essential Questions  18. Five Hat Racks  19. Flexibility Tradeoff  20. Framing  21. Grain Size  22. Inclusivity  23. Innovator’s Dilemma  24. Interdisciplinarity  25. Iteration  26. Labeling Systems  27. Learning Objectives  28. Learning Outcomes  29. Learning Progressions  30. Learning Tasks  31. Levels  32. Magician’s Code  33. Mental Models  34. Minimalism  35. Modularity  36. Propositional Density  37. Proximity  38. Rigor  39. Scalability  40. Specialization  41. Spiral Curriculum  42. Stakeholder Assets  43. Storytelling  44. Student-Facing vs. Teacher-Facing  45. Student Work Samples  46. Subject-Matter Experts  47. Templates  48. Textbooks  49. Threshold Concepts  50. Usability vs. Learnability


    Rebecca Strauss is the Director of Curriculum Design on the "Tiger Works" Research and Development team at Avenues The World School. She also teaches program development at Columbia University’s Teachers College. An experienced learning designer who has led the vision, strategy, development, and implementation of a wide range of education programs for learners of all ages and backgrounds, she holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.


    Austin Volz is the Director of Advanced Program Design on the "Tiger Works" Research and Development team at Avenues The World School. He is the lead author of The Elements of Education for Teachers. The recipient of both a Fulbright scholarship and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Austin holds a B.A. from St. John’s College and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


    William Lidwell is the Chief Research and Development Officer of the "Tiger Works" Research and Development team at Avenues The World School. He is the author of several books, including the best-selling Universal Principles of Design.

    "The Elements of Education for Curriculum Designers by Strauss, Volz, and Lidwell is a new dictionary of curriculum design. Understanding the nuances of curriculum design can play a critical role in both teaching and learning. This book is a simple and useful tool that provides readers with easy-to-digest one-liner definitions and Do’s and Don’ts that will help build an understanding of the multitudes of elements that exist in the development of curriculum."

    Dr. Lizabeth Fogel, Vice President Learning, Strategy, and Development, DoGoodery

    "As an instructional designer, I always believed the old adage that distinguished ‘what is taught’ (curriculum) from ‘how it is taught’ (instruction) oversimplified the design of learning strategies and experiences. This book presents the intricacies of curriculum design in a way that recognizes the necessary blending of many elements to accomplish effective designs for learning."

    Wayne A. Nelson, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, U.S.A.

    "As the authors themselves note ‘in a world characterized by unprecedented complexity and accelerating change, the work of designing effective learning experiences has never been more urgent.’ This book is timely, engaging and thought provoking, and will be read with interest and profit by anyone and everyone with an interest in curriculum design."

     — Professor Kendall A. King, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.