Curriculum Design in Adult Education

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When we were considering our curriculum design the initial models we considered were Product and Process.

Product Model (taken from Neary, 2002)

Aims to design curriculum based on the achievement of aims and outcomes, and designs and encourages learning experiences based on the needs of the decided out comes of the course.

Advantages: Clear and precise aims and outcomes provide a defined structure for delivery for teachers and learners. These curricula are easily defined by ability and assessment level, and provide specific outcomes to assess learners by.

Disadvantages: For the lowest and highest levels of ability, the specific aims and outcomes of the product curricula can become pointless or difficult to define. A prescribed curriculum can discourage creativity can be seen to encourage ‘teaching to the exam’ rather than rounded learning.

Process Model (taken from Neary, 2002)

The curricula take the focus away from aims and outcomes and onto activities and development of both the teacher and student. The idea behind the process curricula is to cultivate an environment in which learning can take place, in which learning can take place, in which a learner can take ownership of the learning.

Advantages: Emphasis on activity and ownership of learning given to the learners. This enforced by the emphasis on learning skills and relevant information.

Disadvantages: There is need for some prescribed outcomes in a curriculum to allow for assessment and progression, especially in relation to gaining in funding. The lack of structure may not work in many areas of teaching and learning.

With this in mind we planned our curriculum to be Process with some elements of Product.

The recommendations of the validating panel.

1) A different structure might promote a better flow of topics

The structure of the course was designed to be quite fluid, allowing learners to pick up the modules at any point during their attendance on the course. I can see how having a more rigid structure may allow for a smoother transition between subjects and progression especially when this is related to learning the relevant functional maths skills required to complete each module. However having the learners take the modules in a specific order, would potentially restrict the flexible nature of the curriculum, as one of our aims was to be a flexible as possible to make the course accessible to as many people as possible. 2) Having a one day a week starting point to help build on prior knowledge from previous session.

This is an excellent idea and one that would help to ensure that all learners are given the best possible chance to start each module on level footing, allowing the learners to learn and develop the skills for completing each module. All the learners starting each module together would allow for a greater amount peer support, rather than the learners being at different stages of the module and potentially working and learning in isolation. This could be an issue as we are trying to encourage learners with potentially low confidence to engage with and develop their numeracy skills, having different types of support is crucial in this process.

3) Look at risk assessments

The issue of risk assessments within some of the modules, cooking and cleaning, was something that was not covered in our scheme of work. However it was included in the painting and decorating module, this was an oversight and something that we could quite easily include. Whether we include this as a section in each module or as a generic health and safety module relevant to the whole course, the introduction of the risk assessments was designed to highlight potential risks to the learners, and not to prepare them to undertake risk assessments in a professional environment.

4) Clarify funding

Funding is probably the biggest issue facing a course with a curriculum which centres on ‘life’ or ‘community’ subjects and...
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