Unit Lead: Marla Davidson

Unit Supervisors: Roona SinhaAmanda Stalwick, Sharon Card, Regina Gjevre

Competence in curriculum development and design is crucial to advance medical education programs.  This unit will provide the Clinician Educator (CE) with the theoretical background and practical skills they need to be able to systematically create, implement, evaluate, and improve curricula, ranging from short (e.g., half-day workshop) to longitudinal curricula (e.g., a new residency program).

The Foundations Unit is a prerequisite for this unit

Teaching & Learning is a co-requisite

Competencies Addressed in this Unit

A CE must be able to:

  1. Plan and conduct a needs assessment
  2. Systematically design and plan the implementation of a curriculum
  3. Evaluate an educational program

Key Documents


By the end of this Unit, the CE will be able to:

1.  Demonstrate competence in systematic educational design, by

  • describing and contrasting commonly used educational design approaches
  • analyzing a commonly used design approach with reference to supporting education theories

2.  Demonstrate competence in needs assessment, by

  • differentiating perceived, observed, organizational (institutional), and societal needs
  • discussing the advantages, challenges, and implications of commonly used needs assessment instruments
  • preparing and conducting a needs assessment

3.  Demonstrate proficiency in setting learning goals and objectives, by

  • defining and comparing the terms “goals,” “learning objectives,” and “milestones”
  • defining three broad domains of learning objectives
  • composing clear and effective learning objectives using appropriate levels-of-learning taxonomies
  • composing clear and effective milestones using appropriate levels-of-learning taxonomies
  • describing the use of curriculum mapping or blueprinting to ensure that objectives are linked to teaching and assessment

4.  Demonstrate comprehension of the challenges of curriculum implementation, by

  • determining the human, fiscal, and physical resources required for the delivery of a new educational initiative
  • outlining critical factors for success in the implementation of a new curriculum
  • discussing the necessary elements of curriculum maintenance

5.  Demonstrate proficiency in program evaluation, by

  • describing and comparing common program evaluation models
  • evaluating a curriculum

6.  Demonstrate comprehension of the importance of the education environment, by

  • explaining the influences on and interactions within an educational environment, which is embedded within interconnected and complex health and medical education systems
  • defining the concept of the “hidden curriculum” and describing the implications of this phenomenon


  • Please refer to the Task List for the Curriculum Unit for a complete listing of the summative and formative assessments required for this unit.
  • Final Unit Report (to be filled by Unit Supervisor)

Reading Lists

Book chapters

  • Donaldson SI. Developing program impact theory. In: Program theory-driven evaluation science: strategies and evaluations. New York: Taylor and Francis Group; 2007. p. 20–39.
  • Donaldson SI. Formulating, prioritizing, and answering evaluation questions. In: Program theory-driven evaluation science: strategies and evaluations. New York: Taylor and Francis Group; 2007. p. 40–8.
  • Harden RM. Curriculum planning and development. In: Dent JA, Harden RM, editors. A practical guide for medical teachers. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2009. p. 8–16.
  • Stufflebeam DL. The CIPP model for evaluation. In: Stufflebeam DL, Madaus GF, Kellaghan T, editors. Evaluation models: viewpoints on educational and human services evaluation. 2nd ed. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers; 2000.
You can also check-out hard copies of resources the USask Faculty Development Library has available.  Visit them here.  For more information or to request a book, please contact
We do our best to keep our reading lists up to date, however some articles may not always be relevant or accessible without permissions.  If you find an article that is unavailable, please let your supervisor know.  Please also let your supervisor know if you have suggestions for other resources.