Curriculum content simply means the totality of what is to be taught in a school system. The content component of teaching learning situation refers to the important facts, principles and concepts to be taught. These contents must be in line with the learning experiences and there must be clear cut objective to be achieved by the end of each respective lesson. It can be in form of knowledge, skills, attitude and values that learners are exposed to. Content involves subject matter drawn on the basis of problems, themes or topics cutting across traditional subjects.
Learning experience refers to any interaction course, programme or other experience in which learning takes place, whether it occurs in traditional academic setting (schools classrooms) or non-traditional academic setting (outside of school locations, outdoor environment or whether it include traditional educational interactions (students learning from teachers and professors)or nontraditional interactions (student learning through games and interactive software applications). According to Tyler learning experiences are the interactions between the learner and the external conditions in the environment to which he can react. It is an activity which may be planned by the class or teacher but perform by the learner for the purpose of achieving some important learning objectives
There are various types of activities that can be performed by the learners in the study of various school subjects to enhance learning. There are also various activities which teachers perform as they teach learners, but then, learning experiences are not what the teachers do, it is not the teacher methodology, but those activities performed by the learners themselves.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTING CURRICULUM CONTENT
- Validity: The content of the curriculum is valid if it promotes the outcome that it is intended to promote. It is also the authenticity of the subject matter or content selected, to make sure the topics are not obsolete, for this to be achieve, there should be a regular check on the curriculum content and replace it if necessary.
- Self sufficiency: This criterion helps learners attain maximum self sufficiency at the most economical manner or content selection. This is done when the students or learners are given the chance to experiment, observe and carryout field study.
- Significance: The content is significant if it is selected and organized for the developed of learning activities, skills, processes and attitude that will help in solving the problem of the country. It also develops the three domain of learning namely cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills and considers the cultural aspect of the learners particularly, if your learners come from different cultural background and races then the content must be cultural sensitive.
- Interest: This criterion is true to be learned centred curriculum. The interest of the students should be considered in selecting content because students learn best if the subject matter is meaningful to them. It becomes meaningful if they are interested in it. But if the curriculum is subject centred, teachers have no choice but to finish the facing schedule religiously and teach only what is in the book, this may explain why many fail in subject sometimes.
- Learnability: The content should be what the students can learn and should be within their experience. Teachers should apply theories on psychology of learning in order to know their subject are presented, sequenced an organized to maximize the learning capacity of the students
- Utility: This is the usefulness of the content in solving problems now and in future. It is more important in skill or procedural. Knowledge, whereby learners can put what they have learnt into practice life activities
- Consistency with Social Realities: This means that content should be chosen based on the facy that they relates to our present social needs economic and political situation. Content must be acceptable to the culture and belief system of the people.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTING LEARNING EXPERIENCE
The condition for selecting learning experiences by the experts must base on the recent or modern principles of learning. These criteria are:
- Validity: Learning experience is valid when it related objectives are in any of the three domains; cognitive, affective and psychomotor, the learning experience must be holistic to involve all the domains.
- Variety: Learners are different and learn, in different ways base on their interest and ability therefore varied learning experience must be provided to help them comprehend
- Interest: So that the desired objectives can be achieve and also for learners to demand pleasure learning experiences from tem must be of great interest to the learner.
- Relevance to Life: Learning experience must be relevant to real-life situations in school and in the society to help learners understand their society and proffer solutions to some problems of the society. This is where community based resources comes to play. Experience in real content and situation bring realism to teaching and learning.
- Suitability: Learning experience must not be too simple nor complex but rather be suitable for the age or level of the learners and for the content which it is meant for.
- Comprehensive: Learning experience must cover all the stated objectives in a lesson; it must range from the simplest learning experiences to the most complex, covering all the domains of learning.
Potential for multiple Learning: This means that learning experiences are not fashioned for different distinct domains of instructional objectives. Therefore, it is necessary to plan for learning experiences that will provide for the three domains as strategy for multiple learning. A single learning experience should involve cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning, hence it is said to be comprehensive.
ORGANIZATIONAL AND INTEGRATION OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND CONTENT
After learning experience and content have been selected, the next step to take is to organize them. These organization of learning experience and content is based on the cumulative development behavior the learners gradually experience during the educational process.
Content and learning experience are organized in two relationship bases; vertical and horizontal relationship;
Vertical organization is the arrangement of learning experiences and content over a time sequence access classes in the same subject. For instance, for a four year programme in English, language, contents are arranged in hierarchical order, from the lowest level to the highest level. This arrangement learning of English language becomes cumulative as knowledge continues to build up over time. This knowledge building starts from simple to complex in the subject progressively.
The horizontal organization occurs when the learning in one subject enhances the knowledge, skill and attitude in another subject within the same class. For instance, there should be a relationship between the knowledge acquired in biology and that of agricultural science, the knowledge and skills acquired in economics lessons can enhance that of political science within the same class.
There are certain criteria that must be met in organizing learning experience and content. These include:
- Continuity: It is the recurring emphasis on the learners experience on a particular element or kind of activities, until mastery is achieved. With mastery, learners develop progressively, systematically and naturally, with new knowledge building on earlier acquired knowledge and thus learners can gain competence.
- Sequence: It is also related to continuity as well as progressively moving from the lower to the higher level of knowledge and from simple to complex. In sequence, each successive experience goes more deeply and broadly into the subjects. Each experience reinforces and extends the previous one. Curriculum practices in the arrangement of sequence of learning experiences usually based according to one of the following; chronological order, logical order and difficulty.
- Integration: It refers to the relationship among learning experiences which brings about a unified view, and behavior is a horizontal relationship which cut across several subjects and the areas of student’s life. One subject should buttress the other. For instance, what is learnt in mathematics to solve problems can be used for solving problems in other subjects, as this enhances the transfer of knowledge.