Curriculum renewal in the health sciences

Deriving criteria by which to determine core curriculum content: A high engagement process

Susan D Hanekom, Marianne Unger, Francois Cilliers

Abstract


Background. During curriculum revision, an important task is identifying a core curriculum. Deciding what criteria to use to determine core content is crucial and impacts on graduate outcomes and patient care.

Objective. To identify criteria to apply in order to determine core content.

Methods. A high engagement process involving eleven staff and two undergraduate student representatives was used. The process consisted of a stimulus question; brainstorming; sharing, clarification and clustering of ideas; second-phase brainstorming, clarification and clustering; prioritisation; and finally vote tally and categorisation. 

Results. The group initially identified 28 criteria to use when deciding on core content. The criteria were reduced stepwise to 15, and finally 3 criteria that enjoyed widespread support were identified. Content would be included in the curriculum if: (i) it was relevant to the South African context; (ii) it would ensure safe and effective practice by first-line practitioners; and (iii) it was evidence-based.

Conclusion. The process lends itself to the participation of multiple stakeholders in an engaging yet anonymous manner. It helps ensure that all voices are heard and ideas included in prioritisation. The process easily manages a multiplicity of ideas; similar ideas are efficiently identified and clustered. Finally, the process is time-efficient.

 



Authors' affiliations

Susan D Hanekom, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Marianne Unger, Division of Physiotherapy, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Francois Cilliers, Education Development Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Core curriculum; Consensus; Physiotherapy

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2014;6(2):180. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.496

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-08-27
Date published: 2014-10-23

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