Divergent Processes Tom Wolff

for Developing New Courses: Technological and Naturalistic

Technological Process

Any curriculum development that emphasizes the importance of defining terminal learning objects early in the process, and then identifies the steps needed to accomplish those objectives.

Technological process of curriculum planning is:

  1. Linear and unidirectional process steps
  2. Tends to be a orderly, systematic, ends-oriented model
  3. Bottom up approach
  4. Moves for specific to general
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Eight Steps in the Technological Process of Curriculum Planning

Step 1: Determine the course parameters: rationale, guiding principles statement, goals, and time schedule for the new course

Step 2: Assess learners’ needs with a needs assessment to evaluate present state of learners.

Step 3: Identify course objectives based on students’ needs plus common core or state standards.

Step 4: Sequence and cluster course objectives

Step 5: Identify one or more learning activity for each objective stated so learners master the objectives.

Step 6: Select instructional materials to help accomplish the objectives and support the learning

Step 7: Identify assessment methods (readiness, diagnostic, formative, and/or summative)

Step 8: Design a curriculum guide that include:


Objectives in desired sequence

Recommended learning activities

List of instruction materials/assessments

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Naturalistic Process

The naturalistic process attempts to embody the characteristics of sensitivity to political aspects, emphasis on the quality of learning activities, reflecting the way it has been developed, and clarify teachers plan for instruction.

Four Characteristics of the Naturalistic Process:

  1. Emphasis on the quality of learning activities
  2. Sensitivity to political aspects of the curriculum
  3. Accurate reflection of how curricula have actually been developed
  4. Awareness of how teachers really plan for instruction

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Eight Steps of Naturalistic Process of Curriculum Planning

Step 1: Assess the Alternatives – examination of the alternatives to a new course.

Step 2: Stake out the territory – consider the schedule and coverage of the course

Step 3: Develop a constituency – build support

Step 4: Build the Knowledge base

Step 5: Block in the unit – determine the number and focus of each unit of study in the course

Step 6: Plan quality learning experiences

Step 7: Develop course examinations

Step 8: Develop the learning scenarios

Summary of Naturalistic Model

The naturalistic model is looser, more flexible, and less rational.

It is more responsive to the political realities and tens to be top-down, moving from the larger to the smaller.

It should result in curriculum that is easier to implement and works well with teachers’ planning styles.

Bottom line: Both models should be incorporated for effective results.