An Overview of the Principles of Curriculum Design in Education


The field of curriculum is core in all educational programs. Curriculum refers to a planned interaction of learners with instructional requirements basing on their content, materials and processes for evaluating the attainment of educational objectives (Wiggins, 2005). Curriculum design takes into account teaching and learning aims and outcomes. This article briefly provides an overview of the Principles of Curriculum Design (PCD). 

The Principles

In order to achieve education goals, various principles of curriculum design have to be put in place. These include the principle of personalization, breadth, relevance, challenge and enjoyment.

The principle of personalization and choice is one of the key principles of curriculum design. This principle plays a significant role in helping teaching professionals and learning institutions in their practice and as a basis for reviewing, evaluating and improving the learning and teaching process once taken into account for all children and young learners (Singer, 2000).

Another principle of curriculum design is called breadth in terms of learning experience. Under this principle, all learners are provided with the opportunitieds for a broad range of experiences in learning process (Apple, 1990). This is due to a fact that their learning is planned and organized in a manner that they learn and develop through a variety of contexts within both the classroom and other aspects of school life.

Relevance in terms of content is another key principle of curriculum design that should not be left  out. This is because it allows learners to recognize the purpose of their learning and related activities. It is put in place to ensure that learners see the value of what they are learning and its relevance to present and future lives.

The principle of challenge and content enjoyment is also one of the significant principles of curriculum design. In this case, learners are meant to find their learning process as challenging, attractive and motivating (Halpern, 1998). This is achieved when the curriculum encourages high aspirations and ambitions for all learners despite their intelligence differences. In addition, learners are made to experience a suitable level of challenge that enables them to achieve their potential.

Finally, another principle of curriculum design is coherence. According to Schmidt (2005), this principle allows a combination of the learner’s different aspects of learning activities to form a coherent experience that enhances the achievement of the learning outcomes. 


Basing on the aforementioned principles of curriculum design, there is no doubt that curriculum design process plays a key role in the production of core educational programmes to enhance not only learners’ final learning outcomes and destinations but also well general learning and teaching approaches and requirements.


Apple, M. W. (1990). Ideology and curriculum.New York: Routledge.

Halpern, D. F. (1998). Teaching critical thinking for transfer across domains: dispositions, skills, structure training, and metacognitive monitoring. American Psychologist, 53(4), 449-455.

Schmidt, W. H. (2005). Curriculum coherence: An examination of U.S. mathematics and science content standards from an international perspective. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 35(5), 528–529.

Singer, J. (2000). Designing curriculum to meet national standards.New Orleans, LA.

Wiggins, G. (2005). Understanding by design.Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.