Reaching Others University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Writing a Curriculum

Quality learning experiences depend on a well-planned curriculum designed to meet your learners’ needs.

A strong curriculum lays the groundwork for successful CME. Your curriculum should address your learners’ needs and their resources, and should include three components:

  • Clear educational objectives: What will your participants learn?
  • Detailed instructional methods: How will you teach them this material?
  • Integrated feedback mechanisms: How will you determine what they learned?

Educational grants often require these materials as well.

Please contact us for a consultation, and we will be happy to help you design a curriculum that meets your CME goals.

Assess General Needs

Identify the major problem your program will address. Demonstrate its scope and importance with hard data, including references and/or statistics. Are physicians obtaining inadequate information from patients? Are treatments for a condition applied inconsistently? How does the current situation fall short of an ideal situation? If the problem is solved, how will patient care or patient outcomes be affected?

Identify Your Learners’ Needs

Think about the healthcare professionals you want to target and describe the specific education gap your program will fill. Use data to support your claims in this section as well. Show that an education gap exists, and show its effects on patient care and outcomes. What resources do your targeted learners already have? How does your proposed content fit their scope of practice?

Establish Specific, Measurable Objectives

Clear, measurable objectives tell your learners what to expect from your program. They also help you select appropriate teaching strategies and develop useful methods for assessment.

Work to make your program’s objectives SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. You may also find Bloom’s Taxonomy useful. It categorizes educational activities into three domains—cognitive, affective and psychomotor—and identifies levels of learning within the cognitive and affective domains. Comparing your objectives to these categories can clarify them and help you determine the best ways for your curriculum to meet them.

Choose Your Educational Strategies

How can you use hands-on experience, group learning or other interactive teaching methods? What methods will make the best use of your learners’ resources to meet your objectives? How will you measure your program’s success at filling the education gap you identified?

Plan Your Program’s Details

A well-organized environment dramatically improves your learners’ experience. Plan out your program’s details well ahead of time and review your plan shortly before your activity takes place. Revise, clarify or add to your plan as needed. Your evaluations will reflect the time you spend planning.

How will you communicate the program’s objectives to your learners? Outline exactly what material you will cover and the teaching methods you will use. If your activity includes multiple speakers or several events over a period of time, how will you build these elements into a single, meaningful program? How will you address unexpected events, such as delayed speakers, faulty equipment or questions outside the program’s scope?

Evaluation and Feedback

Design feedback mechanisms to assess your learners’ performance and evaluate your program. Our programs commonly use ratings forms, self-assessment forms, questionnaires, tests, direct observation, performance audits and group discussions for evaluation and feedback.

Your program objectives inform the teaching methods you develop, and the effects of your teaching methods show up in data from your feedback mechanisms. This data helps you reframe your program objectives on an ongoing basis.

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