Curricular Approach Products

One of the biggest obstacles to a successful curricular approach to learning beyond the classroom is overthinking and not keeping the complex uncomplicated. My work with almost 100 campuses is helping me think about a curricular approach in ways that maintain complexity but also keep it uncomplicated. In other posts, I’ve shared new ways of thinking about the process, products, and mindsets of a curricular approach. Here, I want to explore the products of a curricular approach.


The products of a curricular approach are the what of your curricular approach. The processes of a curricular approach are the how that leads to these products. We can simplify this to two primary products: Learning Aims and Educational Plans. The learning aims are the aspirations for learning and the educational plans are the aligned actions to help achieve the learning aims.

Learning Aims

The Learning Aims articulate what the learners will take with them as a result of the learning experience. The learning aims include other more specific products including the Educational Priority, Learning Goals, Narratives, Learning Outcomes, and Rubics. Your curricular approach should have a single set of learning outcomes each Educational Plan contributes toward.

Educational Plans

The Educational Plans outline how to create an experience for the learners that will help them achieve the learning aims. The educational plans include other specific products, including narrowed learning outcomes, core strategies, developmental sequencing, facilitation guides, and assessment strategies and plans. Your curricular approach will have many different Educational Plans, each outlining how each functional area contributes to the overall learning aims.

Ongoing Development

When working with folks to launch their curricular approach, I often talk about moving from the top of this inverted pyramid down from the learning aims to the educational plans. When you start, this flow makes sense and can keep you from being overwhelmed.

In the ongoing development of a curricular approach, the design, implementation, assessment, and leadership of the educational plans can inform adjustments, revisions, and affirmation of the learning aims. At a recent APCA ICA, after I was sharing this pyramid, Paul Brown (who was co-presenting with me) whispered that this pyramid should be something like a circle to reflect this ongoing iterative process. Rather than make the pyramid a circle, I’ve made it an hourglass. I imagine that, in the ongoing process, the sand flows through the hourglass one way, and then we flip it, and it flows through the other way. Each time, the process of developing these products informs us of improvements to the other products.

Your Curricular Approach

If you are interested in considering a curricular approach for learning beyond the classroom, I would love to discuss what that could look like.

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Leaders and organizations turn to Keith as an authentic educator, trusted leader, and unconventional scholar helping them advance leadership, learning, and equity.

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