Using curriculum design principles to renew teaching and learning in developmental psychology

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation Vol. 40

June, 2017, 455 pages
Published by
Ruth Walker & Simon Bedford

The curriculum for an undergraduate developmental psychology course at a regional Australian university was redesigned, using the university’s new curriculum design principles: learning centred, constructively aligned, standards based, and career and future focused. The new experientially-based curriculum was facilitated by using a technology-enabled, tiered learning space, which supported collaborative and blended learning, with applied activities to understand how a human lifespan grows and develops. Learning outcomes and assessment were constructively aligned, whilst a range of technologies supported blended learning for students. In addition to structured course activities, students made video vignettes (formative assessment) and wrote reflections (summative assessment) to demonstrate their understanding of adolescence and old age. The vignettes were innovative, creative, engaging, and insightful. The benefits of the authentic nature of the assessment was evident, as students who embraced the vignettes demonstrated greater depth of understanding and insight, and subsequently gained higher grades in their reflections. Curriculum renewal is an ongoing process. Whilst the student feedback was largely positive, variability in the weekly activities, and clarity surrounding the purpose of online lectures and formative tasks will enhance the course. Future research would benefit from exploring age and cohort effects longitudinally. For psychology students, this experiential approach allows for more ‘real world’ application of the content for career-readiness, and is also transferrable to various levels, courses, and disciplines. Overall, the curriculum design was successful according to all markers of achievement, and was an enjoyable experience for both facilitators and students alike.

Keywords: curriculum design principles, experiential learning, authentic assessment

Using curriculum design principles to renew teaching and learning in developmental psychology

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Millear, M.R., Greenaway R.R., & Schmidt, J.R.