Challenges of Curriculum Development for Health Sciences

There are many different theories for curriculum design and many affecting factors and challenges when setting or updating a curriculum. It is especially more challenging in health sciences when trying to link the usually knowledge based undergraduate teaching with the postgraduate competency based training. This paper is a literature review on challenges of curriculum development/ design in medical education in the period 1980 to 2012.

Literature review was conducted both manually and electronically with the objective to list challenges of curriculum design in health sciences as identified in relevant literature. It specifically looks into curriculum definition, standards, available models and resources among other things.  

A curriculum has at least four important elements: content; teaching and learning strategies; assessment processes; and evaluation processes.

A curriculum should set expectations for learners, advise the teacher what to do and help the institution monitor student learning and evaluate their education. It has to be flexible to adapt to changes and advances in medical education.

One of the biggest challenges is how to meet the demands of students, teachers and the health care system. Students need to identify principles in knowledge and learn to apply them to solve problems in the future.

Curriculum models are theoretically challenging. A choice of a specific model although not an objective by itself, is determined by different factors. This paper summarizes eight models for curriculum development.

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