Curriculum development process is a vital activity in the achievement of the educational goals on both the learners and the teachers. For years, the curriculum has never been the same but has kept changing depending on the factors that suit it, however it is for this reason that in the past, today, and even in the future, it be will continued to talk about the processes and models of curriculum development. Curriculum development is an activity that every educationist has to be interested in if they are to be successful and to understand their careers. The aim of this academic writing is to describe the objective and cyclical models of curriculum process, bringing out their distinctions.
Definition of terms
A curriculum model is a simplified representation of complex reality, which enables us understand the process of curriculum development better, a model represents the components and structure of the curriculum. According Killen (1986) in Norton and Norton (1989:6), it is “a means representing the components and structures of a curriculum.” Thus a curriculum model can be said to be a plan or program of approved all ideas or processes which specialists follow when developing a curriculum. It simply outlines a prescribed series of courses to take when devising a curriculum.
Objective model; proposed by Ralph Tyler in 1949, is also referred to as the classical, rational or academic model which contains content that is based on specific objectives (Urebvu, 1990). It follows a logical and sequential as well as shows a relation among curriculum components. The objectives specify the expected learning outcomes in terms of specific measurable behaviors. The model is comprised of four main steps which include, agreeing on broad aims which are analyzed into objectives, secondly, constructing a curriculum to achieve these objectives, followed by the refining of the curriculum in practice through testing its capacity in achieving its objectives, and lastly, communicating the curriculum to implementers through the conceptual framework of the objectives (Urebvu, 1990).
It is important to note that the objective model was an eye opener to the scholars such as Tyler and therefore contributes massively in Tyler’s model of curriculum design and it is for this reason that Tyler’s model of curriculum process is sometimes called the means-objective model. The model is linear in nature, starting from objectives and ending with evaluation. In this model, evaluation is terminal in the sense that, objectives form the basis for the selection and organization of learning experiences. Objectives also form the basis for assessing the curriculum and are derived from the learner’s contemporary life and subject specialist (Tyler, 1949).
Tyler’s model for curriculum designing is based on the following four questions: What educational purposes should the school seek to attain? What educational experiences can be provided that is likely to attain these purposes? How can these educational experiences be effectively organized? How can we determine whether these purposes are being attained?
To Tyler, evaluation is a process by which one matches the initial expectation with the outcomes. It is done at each stage of the curriculum design and content, materials and methodology are derived from the objectives.
Cyclical model; also known as the spherical model was developed by Wheeler, he modified Tyler’s straight line model into a cyclic or spherical model for the reason that Tyler’s model did not provide for feedback or help students achieve the evaluative outcomes or expected objectives (Urebvu, 1990). This model which Wheeler called the circular model has five procedures which are: Selecting an objective, choosing learning experience, choosing content, organizing and integrating learning experience and content, and evaluating.
Wheeler (1967) contends that, aims should be discussed as behaviors referring to the end product of learning which yields the ultimate goals and these ultimate goals can as well be thought of as outcomes, additionally wheeler says that aims are formulated from the general to the specific in curriculum planning. This results in the formulation of objectives at both an enabling and a terminal level. Content is distinguished from the learning experiences which determine that content.
Differences between objective and cyclical models of curriculum design
The following are the differences of the objective and cyclical models according to http://www.wikipedia.org and Norton and Norton (1989)
• Firstly the cyclical model has a feedback mechanism as compared to the objective model, in the sense that it provides students with ways to measure their progress or accuracy.
• Whenever there is new information which needs to be incorporated in the curriculum, the cyclic model readily incorporates it in the curriculum which is never the case in the objective model which seems to be impossible to receive or incorporate more information. This makes the spherical model to be more flexible as compared to the objective model which is more on a rigid side.
• The Cyclical models view curriculum elements as interrelated and interdependent while in the objective models, the elements are linear, one leads to another and one cannot take place without the accomplishment of the previous. From this difference we find that the objective model can be time consuming because the progress of the process depends upon the completion of the previous step.
• Evaluation in the objective model can be done at each stage when need arises, while in the cyclical model of curriculum design evaluation is done at a stage where it’s findings are fed back into the objectives and the goals, which influence other stages, and ensures the continuity of the spherical model.
• The other difference is that cyclical models present the curriculum design process as a continuing activity, which is constantly in a state of change as new information, and practices become available, while in the objective model it is hard to determine continuity is possible or not.
• In addition Cyclical models emphasize the importance of Situational Analysis, so that the subsequent curriculum will accurately reflect the needs of the learners for whom it is intended and at the right time and the right place, which is a difficult thing to do in the objective model because of the its rigidity to adjust and suite the intended learners.
In conclusion, we can say that curriculum design is a complex but systematic process. That is the reason why it is important to know a variety of models of curriculum design, so that we make this complex activity that is curriculum design or development understandable and manageable. It is also important for us as teachers to understand how the curricula we are using in our schools are designed.
Norton, J.K., & Norton, M.A. (1976). Foundations of Curriculum Building. Boston: Ginn.
Tyler, R.W (1949). Basic Principles of curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: University of
Urevbu, A. (1994). Curriculum Studies. Harlow: Longman House.
Wheeler, D.K (1967). Curriculum Process. London: University of London Press.
Http//www. wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative-curriculum studies and organization, accessed: 23-10-2009