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Introduction to Programme and Module Design

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There are a number of curriculum design models available that can be used to assist in the design and development of programmes and modules.

Within Academic Practice we support the development of programmes, modules and electives that follow the curriculum alignment model. The three key components of curriculum alignment: (1) intended learning outcomes are appropriate and clearly defined; (2) teaching and learning strategies support the required learning, and (3) the assessment tasks are balanced and aligned with the outcomes (Biggs, 199, 2003).

Learning outcomes influence module content, delivery mode, and assessment strategy. In curriculum design terms, constructive alignment is desirable (e.g. coherence between assessment activity, teaching and learning activities, and learning outcomes). Clearly articulating learning outcomes for a programme or module is an essential step in curriculum design with important implications for teaching, learning, and assessment.

Curriculum Alignment

Programme and Module Design - what needs to be considered

  • Who are the targeted learners and what are their specific needs?
  • How will the programme or module be delivered, online, in-person or a combination of these?
  • What is the aim of the programme or module and what learning outcomes are to be achieved by the learners?
  • How should the learning outcomes be assessed?
  • What teaching strategies can be used to support learners in achieving the learning outcomes?

Further information on how to design your programme or module can be found in our webpages. Follow the links on the left hand navigation bar for further information.

Key Takeaways

  • Curriculum alignment is a key element of designing successful programmes and modules which is achieved by:
    • - Defining clear and assessable learning outcomes
      - Selecting appropriate assessments
      - Using teaching strategies that support the required learning
  • Establishing learner needs at the outset will help inform effective design, development and implementation of programmes and modules.


Biggs, J., 1996. Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education, 32(3), pp.347-364.

Biggs, J., 2003. Aligning teaching for constructing learning. Higher Education Academy, 1(4).