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Dimensions and Principles of Curriculum Design

Many curricularists suggest to view a design from the following

dimensions: scope, sequence, continuity, integration, articulation and

1. Scope- Tyler in Ornstein, 2004 defines scope as all the content,

topics, learning experiences, and organizing threads comprising the
educational plan. It does not only refers to the cognitive content but also
affective and psychomotor. It is broad, limited, simple, general to
describe. The decision making of a teacher is needed.

2. Sequence- contents and experiences are arranged in hierarchical

manner, where the basis can either be logic of the subject matter or on
the developmental patterns of growth of the cognitive, affective and
psychomotor domains. A particular order in which related events,
movements, or things follow each other.

Four Principles of Sequence -Smith, Stanley, and Shore (1957)

 Simple to complex learning- Contents and experiences are

organized from simple to complex, from concrete to abstract, from
easy to difficult.

 Prerequisite learning- It means that there are fundamental things to

be learned ahead.

 Whole to part learning- The overview before the specific content or


 Chronological learning- this principle is closely allied to history,

political science. Time is the factor to be considered.
Five principles for organizing content in units (Posner and
Rudnitsky, 1994)

 World-related Sequence

A. Space- spatial relations will be basis for the sequence.

B. Time- from the earliest to the most recent.

C. Physical Attributes- the physical characteristics of the phenomena

such as age, shape, size, brightness and others.

 Concept-related Sequence- how ideas are related together in

logical manner

A. Class relations- group or set of things that share common practices.

B. Propositional relations- a statement that asserts something

 Inquiry-related Sequence- based on the process of generating,

discovering and verifying knowledge, content and experiences are
sequenced logically and methodically.

 Learning-related Sequence- how people learn

A. Empirical Prerequisites- based on empirical studies where the

prerequisite is required before learning the next level.

B. Familiarity- prior learning is important in sequence

C. Difficulty- easy content is taken ahead than the difficult one.

D. Interest- use interesting contents and experiences to boost their

appetite in learning.
3. Continuity- Vertical repetition and recurring appearances of the
content provide continuity in the curriculum. This process enables the
learners to strengthen the permanency of learning and development of

Gerome Bruner calls this “spiral curriculum” for learners to develop the
ideas, this have to be developed and redeveloped in a spiral fashion in
increasing depth and breath as the learners advance.

4. Integration- Everything is integrated and interconnected. Life is a

series of emerging themes. This is the essence of integration in the
curriculum design. Organization is drawn from the world themes from
real life concerns. Subject matter content or disciplined content is

5. Articulation- can be done either vertically or horizontally. In vertical

articulation, contents are arranged from level to level or grade to grade
so that the content I a lower level is connected to the next level.
Horizontal articulation happens at the same time like social studies in
grade six is related to science in grade six.

6. Balance- equitable assignment of content, experiences, and other

elements to establish balance is needed curriculum design.

Too much or too little of these elements maybe disastrous to the

curriculum. Keeping the curriculum “in balance” requires fine timing and
review for its effectiveness and relevance.