The curriculum of any Program or course of study describes the path that learners progress along to obtain the knowledge and skills they need to meet the Goals and Objectives of the Program. Curricula are made up of various Courses and other Educational Experiences such as student teaching, study abroad, and internships that are arranged in a particular order and target specific learning objectives. This progression builds upon the skills and knowledge gained from earlier learning so that it can be applied to more advanced achievements.
Curricula evolve over time based on new skills and knowledge that educators, parents, and the community deem necessary for citizenship, employment, and integration for students into society. Twenty years ago using personal computers was not part of the general curricula in colleges or high schools. Technological changes, pressure from the business community and changes in popular culture have revolutionized the use computers in education so that most high school and college students today have had computers as part of their curriculum since elementary school.
Curricula change is also driven by incorporating new discoveries and new technologies into existing programs. New research on how students learn impacts the structure and methodology of teaching. As research into how the brain works, how we communicate, and how we use technology is published, using that information to affect positive change becomes part of the mission of educational institutions.
Deciding what changes to make in a curriculum and when to make them can be a difficult task for instructors and administrators. Outcomes Assessment includes tools to help institutions define and examine existing curricula so that future changes can be systematically planned and based on data collected by the institution. As changes to a curriculum take place, new learning outcomes are designed. Data can be collected based on measuring the new outcomes to gauge the success or failure of change, continuing the cycle of assessment to improve educational outcomes for all students.