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Embracing Learner-Centred Curriculum Design Models: Enhancing Engagement and Personalisation

Learner-centred curriculum design models have emerged as a powerful approach to creating more engaging, effective, and personalised learning experiences. By focusing on learners' individual needs, preferences, and goals, these models help educators and instructional designers develop educational programmes that resonate with their audience. In this article, we will explore popular learner-centred curriculum design models, their key elements, and practical tips for successful implementation.

Understanding Learner-Centred Curriculum Design

Learner-centred curriculum design prioritises the needs of learners by:

  • Developing learning objectives that align with their goals and aspirations

  • Adapting instructional strategies and content to suit their unique learning preferences

  • Encouraging active participation and hands-on learning experiences

  • Fostering collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills

Popular Learner-Centred Curriculum Design Models

Problem-Based Learning (PBL):

Problem-Based Learning is an instructional model that revolves around learners solving real-world problems, often in collaborative groups. Learners develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills by working through authentic, complex issues. In PBL, the educator takes on a facilitator role, guiding learners through the process and providing support when needed.

Key elements of PBL include:

  • Presenting learners with realistic, ill-structured problems that require investigation and analysis

  • Encouraging learners to draw upon their existing knowledge and experiences to identify potential solutions

  • Fostering collaboration as learners work together to address the problem

  • Providing opportunities for reflection and self-assessment throughout the problem-solving process

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL)

Inquiry-Based Learning is an instructional approach that encourages learners to ask questions, explore concepts, and develop their understanding through guided investigations and research. IBL places learners at the centre of the learning process, allowing them to construct their knowledge and develop critical thinking skills actively.

Key elements of IBL include

  • Fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder by posing open-ended questions or presenting intriguing scenarios

  • Encouraging learners to generate hypotheses, gather information, and test their ideas

  • Providing guidance and scaffolding to support learners as they navigate the inquiry process

  • Promoting reflection and assessment of learning throughout the investigation

Constructivist Learning

Constructivist Learning is a learner-centred instructional model based on the belief that learners actively construct their knowledge by connecting new information to their existing knowledge, experiences, and perspectives. In this model, the educator's role is to facilitate and support learners as they engage with new concepts and ideas.

Key elements of Constructivist Learning include:

  • Designing learning experiences that encourage learners to engage with content and explore concepts in meaningful ways actively

  • Providing opportunities for learners to connect new information to their existing knowledge and experiences

  • Encouraging learners to reflect on their learning process, assess their understanding, and adjust their strategies as needed

  • Promoting a learning environment that values diverse perspectives and recognises that learners may have different interpretations of the same information

Collaborative Learning

Collaborative Learning is a learner-centred instructional approach that fosters teamwork, communication, and cooperation by encouraging learners to work together to achieve shared learning objectives. In this model, learners are actively involved in learning, often working in small groups to complete tasks, solve problems, or create projects.

Key elements of Collaborative Learning include:

  • Structuring learning activities that require learners to work together, share ideas, and contribute to a common goal

  • Promoting a sense of interdependence among learners, with each group member responsible for their own learning and the success of the group as a whole

  • Fostering open communication, active listening, and constructive feedback among learners

  • Providing opportunities for learners to reflect on their group dynamics, problem-solving strategies, and individual contributions to the group's success

Key Elements of Learner-Centred Curriculum Design

  • Clear and relevant learning objectives that cater to learners' needs and goals

  • Instructional strategies and content that align with learners' preferences and interests

  • Hands-on activities and real-world applications that promote active learning

  • Opportunities for collaboration, communication, and critical thinking

  • Ongoing feedback, reflection, and opportunities for improvement

Adapting Traditional Curriculum Design Models for Learner-Centred Approaches

Existing curriculum design models, such as ADDIE or SAM, can be adapted to incorporate learner-centred principles by:

  • Ensuring flexibility and adaptability within the design process

  • Involving learners in needs analysis, content development, and evaluation stages

  • Emphasising personalisation, engagement, and active learning throughout the design process

Benefits and Challenges of Implementing Learner-Centred Curriculum Design

Benefits include:

  • Improved learner engagement, motivation, and knowledge retention

  • Enhanced personalisation and relevance of educational content

Challenges may involve:

  • Time and resource constraints

  • Balancing stakeholder expectations with learner-centred principles

Tips for Successful Implementation of Learner-Centred Curriculum Design

  • Collaborate with stakeholders, including learners, educators, and subject matter experts, to ensure a comprehensive understanding of learner needs and preferences

  • Continuously evaluate and refine the curriculum based on feedback and performance data

  • Leverage educational technology tools that support learner-centred approaches, such as adaptive learning platforms, interactive multimedia, and collaborative online environments


Learner-centred curriculum design models are powerful in creating more engaging, effective, and personalised learning experiences. By understanding and embracing these models, educators and instructional designers can better cater to their learners' unique needs, preferences, and goals, ultimately fostering more successful educational outcomes. With a focus on collaboration, adaptability, and continuous improvement, learner-centred curriculum design models can transform the future of education.

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