10th, January 2012
Curriculum development mainly involves the systematic planning of what is taught in schools, and this is reflected in the content of study courses as well as programs. Curriculum development takes place in different contexts, but is a continuous process, which is also highly flexible. During the process of curriculum development, different factors come to play in determining the outcome of the process. Among the factors that affect curriculum development, some have a greater influence on the process, while others influence the process at a lower degree. The most important factor affecting curriculum development is the political factor, while the strategies used in evaluation of the process is the least factor affecting curriculum development (Iwasiw, Andrusyszyn & Goldenberg, 2009).
Apart from political factors and learning theories, other factors affecting curriculum development include needs of the population, outcomes of the process of curriculum development, the strategies used in evaluation of the process, as well as the supporting references. Political factors in this case have the greatest influence on the process of curriculum development as the other entire factors base on it. Political factors include government norms and policies regarding curriculum. Most importantly, politics influence curriculum development through funding. Private and public institutions of learning depend on funding for effective operations and learning outcomes in the facilities. Funding is highly dependent on the government of a country. In addition, curriculum processes depend on state government, as it is responsible for development of policies that affect learning institutions. This includes the approval of examination bodies and type of education system, as well as goal definitions of learning facilities (Iwasiw, Andrusyszyn & Goldenberg, 2009).
In developing curriculum, the strategies of evaluating the process have to be established. This is a minor factor affecting curriculum development as it does not directly affect the learning process in learning facilities. Once the outcomes of a curriculum have been identified, it is easier to come up with strategies to evaluate the curriculum, as evaluation is dependent on the outcomes. Besides, these strategies may be developed by internal or external players, and do not affect the learning process. Therefore, this is a subsidiary to the process as is not as influential as the political factor (Iwasiw, Andrusyszyn & Goldenberg, 2009).
Integrating theory and research is both advantageous and disadvantageous to adult students in healthcare careers. Researchers have emphasized the integration of research and theory in healthcare courses in order to strengthen the research practice. However, different criticisms have arisen on the integration of research and theory in this field, thus, advocating for the use of theory alone in the learning process. The advantages of learning theory alone instead of integrating it with theory are vast. First, research theory presents a platform for a systematic understanding of different health programs, resources, and their relationships, including their inputs and outputs. In addition, theory puts into consideration both the contextual and implementation factors of healthcare programs to (Brazil et al, 2005).
On the other hand, integrating both research and theory in the healthcare curriculum as well carries a variety of benefits to the learners. According to Brazil et al, (2005), research in healthcare promotes collaboration with other disciplines including Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, among others. This collaboration leads to attainment of rich information; and when coupled with theory, will result in effective learning outcomes. A second benefit is that when research is integrated with theory, the learners will be exposed to important trainings in research. This especially includes the research methods, thus broadening their body of knowledge in healthcare research, unlike when they are confined to theory only in their learning process. Research in healthcare training may also expose the learners to practical situations in healthcare, which they will have to deal with during their learning process. This therefore, gives the learners a first-hand experience in handling issues relating to healthcare, a phenomenon that adequately prepares them to handle future situations in healthcare during their period of professional practice.
Brazil, K., Ozer, E., Cloutier, M., Levine, R. & Stryer, D. (2005). From theory to practice:
improving the impact of health services research. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC545971/
Iwasiw, C., Andrusyszyn, M. & Goldenberg, D. (2009). Curriculum Development in Nursing
Education. Jones & Bartlett Learning: New Jersey.
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