Skip to main content


Principles of Curriculum Design and Evaluation

Module titlePrinciples of Curriculum Design and Evaluation
Module codeHPDM109
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Kerry Gilbert (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The principles of curriculum design and evaluation can be applied to many different contexts - from single teaching sessions to one day events and/or course programmes. In this module, you will learn about the concept of ‘curriculum’ and extend your knowledge on how curriculum trends, quality assurance and quality enhancement are involved when designing a curriculum. This will include addressing the concepts such as formal, informal and hidden curriculum together with the educational environment in which the curriculum is delivered. This builds on the content and learning from the Postgraduate Certificate. You will consider the views of a variety of stakeholders and discuss their sometimes-contrasting needs with regard to course structure, administration and outcomes.

Module aims - intentions of the module

As clinical educators, it is important to understand the principles of curriculum design that underpin our teaching programmes. This module will equip you with the knowledge and skills that are required to design curricula of any duration and also evaluate your teaching and learning in a clinical setting. As with other modules, there is an emphasis on developing both in-depth knowledge and practical experience.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Apply theoretical concepts and frameworks to specific educational programmes within the individuals own working environment.
  • 2. To be able to critically analyse the key theories that underlie and inform curriculum design and methods of evaluation used in the clinical setting.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Review approaches to curriculum design and course evaluation in healthcare educational settings and practice.
  • 4. Apply evaluation techniques to a clinical educational programme with the aim of identifying improvements in evaluation strategy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Develop a critical, analytical and reflective stance towards curriculum design and evaluation in one’s own professional practice.
  • 6. Demonstrate the ability to present in front a large group using a range of appropriate technologies

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:  


• The concept of curriculum including concepts such as formal, informal, hidden curriculum. 

• Educational environment and climate. 

• Needs analysis (planning, data management and utilisation). 

• Curriculum design, objectives versus learning outcomes and constructive alignment. 

• Instructional design.

• The flipped classroom. 

• Principles of evaluation. 

• Evaluation models, frameworks and methods. 

• Quality assurance processes. 

• Stakeholder involvement.


•           Face-to-face scheduled lectures may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos for each topic (15-20 minutes) and/or brief overview lectures delivered via MS Teams/Zoom, with learning consolidated by self-directed learning resources and ELE activities.


•           Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars may be replaced by synchronous group discussion on Teams/ Zoom; or asynchronous online discussion, for example via Yammer or ELE Discussion board.


•           Workshops involving face-to-face classroom teaching may be replaced by synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom; or Asynchronous workshop activities supported with discussion forum.


•           Skills workshops involving practical skills acquisition demonstrations may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos as pre-learning; or workshop via Teams/Zoom.


Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities.6Delivered over one full contact day, split into interactive student seminar sessions, including both lecture and workshop-oriented activities.
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities3 4-hour practical designing and delivering a teaching session
Scheduled Learning & Teaching3Facilitated small group sessions with student presentations
Guided independent study38Online pre-course preparation, formative assessment and preparation of teaching material
Guided independent study100 Post- course assignment preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Pre-course online preparation34 hours1-5Online feedback
Analysis of learning needs (contributes to portfolio of practice)1 hour1-5Tutor Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation4015 minutes + 5 min questions1-6Written
Critical reflection on co-production of the curriculum you presented.601000-word1-5Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Oral presentation (40%)Essay (1000-words) - Design and brief analysis of a mini-curriculum based on an area of teaching practice.1-6Typically within six weeks of the result
Critical reflection on co-production of the curriculum you presented. (60%)Critical analysis of curriculum design and evaluation methods (1000 words).1-5Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

In the event of being referred in the module, you will be required to write an essay in place of the original assessment for which you have been referred. This will be worth the same % tariff of the module mark as for the initial assessment.  If you are referred for both module assessments this will mean completing two essays on different aspects of the course.

Please also refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Introduction to the general principles of teaching and learning 


•  Teaching in Further Education: An Outline of Principles and Practices  by Curzon and Tummons (Bloomsbury).  An excellent introduction to the principles of teaching and learning for all professionals. 

•  Teaching, training and learning; a practical guide  by Reece and Walker (Business Education Publishers Limited). Now out of print, but the 4  th  edition (2000) available on online book retailers very cheaply.  Remains probably the best practical introduction to teaching. 

 Application of teaching and learning to clinical professions: 

 •  ABC of Learning and Teaching in Medicine  by Peter Cantillon and Dianna Wood. (BMJ Publishing).  A good basic introduction.

 •  Understanding Medical Education; Evidence Theory and Practice.  Edited by Tim Swanwick. (Wiley-Blackwell).  An excellent more detailed account with good references to further work.  Each chapter is written by leaders in their fields.


 These books constitute the core textbooks for this course.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Frye, A.W. &Hemmer,P.A  . (2012). Program evaluation models and related theories: AMEE Guide No. 67.  Medical Teacher. 34:5 pp: e288-e299. 

Goldman, E., Swayze, S., Swinehart, S., Schroth, S. (2012). Effecting Curricular Change Through Comprehensive Course Assessment: Using Structure and Process to Change Outcomes Academic Medicine. 87(3):300-307. 

Grant, J. (2002). Learning needs assessment: assessing the need. British Medical Journal, 324(7330), 156-159. 

Harden, R. (2002). Learning outcomes and instructional objectives: is there a difference? Medical Teacher, 21(2), 151-155. 

Irby, D., Cooke, M., & O'Brien, B. (2010). Calls for Reform of Medical Education by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: 1910 and 2010. Academic Medicine, 9(2), 220-227. 

Patton MQ. (2012). Essentials of utilization-focused evaluation. Newbury Park: Sage. 

Stufflebeam, D.L., Shinkfield, A.J. (2011). Evaluation Theory, Models, & Applications. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 

Fitzpatrick, J.L., Sanders, J.R., Worthen, B.R. (2010). Program evaluation: alternative approaches and practical guidelines (3   rd    ed). Allyn & Bacon.  

General Medical Council -     

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education -

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources



Medical School intranet

Key words search

Curriculum design, Evaluation, Needs assessment, Quality assurance

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date