Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Nursing

What Are Some of the Reasons for Using an Educational Framework and/or Philosophy to Guide Your Approach to Developing Curriculum?

Philosophy is one of the components of the curriculum. It means that it is impossible to develop one without using philosophy. That said, there are several reasons for deploying it to guide the approach to designing curricula. First of all, philosophy reflects educational objectives and desired outcomes and is related to the faculty’s beliefs regarding the effectiveness of the educational process and competencies (Keating, 2011).

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In addition to it, the curriculum should represent institutional philosophy and be developed strictly according to it. As for the educational framework, it should also be taken into consideration when framing the curriculum because interactions with students and core competencies should be determined within the organization’s educational framework (Billings & Halstead, 2012).

What Are Some of the Differences Between Traditional and Modern Educational Frameworks and Philosophies?

Traditional educational frameworks are designed in a way offering a specific sequence of courses. It means that there is a strict determination of presenting teaching materials as well as the desired learning outcomes and timeframes for achieving them. The primary emphasis is made on developing skills, methods of evaluation, building up critical thinking, and precise specification of nursing content (Billings & Halstead, 2012).

However, usually, it results in oversaturation with information and a lack of skills and competencies. Unlike traditional educational frameworks and philosophies, modern ones are competency-based. They focus on reaching specific professional characteristics of learners instead of overloading them with content and center on helping learners understand what level of competency is a desirable one and expected in different situations and what are the ways to achieve it. Moreover, modern educational frameworks point to skills corresponding with particular levels of competency and offer tools for evaluating them, which are easily observable and measurable because they are based on practice instead of excessive theory (Keating, 2011).

Compare and Contrast Two Traditional Educational Frameworks or Philosophies in Guiding Curriculum Development.

Educational philosophies are always evolving in order to satisfy the needs of the educational system requirements. Even though traditional philosophies might seem old-fashioned, they are still popular and widely used in curriculum development. Some of the traditional educational philosophies are realism and idealism. According to realism, the world operates under the laws of science and logic. It is orderly and should be analyzed objectively.

Unlike realism, idealism emphasizes the existence of universal truth and centers on the desire to live in a perfect world. It is a subjective philosophy, which does not preach the necessity to live under scientific rules (Wittman-Price & Godshall, 2009).

Both theories can be applied to developing curricula. For example, realism is used for crafting well-structured curricula focusing on content. Such educational programs involve positive reinforcement and rewards for achieving particular levels of skill development. Moreover, realism-based curricula are characterized by a strict sequence of providing information and organizing courses, usually from simple to complex ones. Some ways to deploy realism in nursing curricula are to develop tests of different complexity with regard to obtained knowledge and reward learners for achieving required levels of competency.

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As for idealism, curricula resting on its postulates are usually developed on the basis of humanism overestimating the role of a teacher as a guide in the educational process. Nursing practice is seen as arts while instructors are believed to be role models. Idealism-based curricula are created with special emphasis on social justice (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). This theory could be used as a tool for designing nursing curricula aiming at self-development and commitment, which might lead to delivering services of higher quality in the longer run. Furthermore, these theories can be used in the workplace.

For example, realism could be beneficial for recognizing that nursing practice should be objective, but nurses should still try to make the world a better place to live by following the postulates of idealism and providing patients with high-quality services.

Compare and Contrast Two Modern Educational Frameworks or Philosophies in Guiding Curriculum Develop

Some of the modern educational philosophies applied to develop nursing curricula are progressivism and reconstructionism. In accordance with the basics of progressivism, the most significant aspects of effective educational programs are the ability to teach learners to solve problems and design real-life curricula. In addition to it, the theory emphasizes the necessity of centering on students, their needs, and their desires.

It means that making up progressivism-based curricula implies the possibility to choose subjects and skills, which will be taught. Moreover, they include experiential and group learning as primary tools for reaching educational objectives. Another way to design nursing curricula based on progressivism is to engage numerous activities aimed at developing logical and critical thinking and promote active learning instead of focusing on theory (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015).

As for reconstructionism, this theory emphasizes the paramount role of education in becoming a professional nurse. It centers on the belief that schooling is the only tool to achieve learning objectives and become competent as well as to prepare for real-life full of numerous inadequate and complex situations (Wittman-Price & Godshall, 2009). Reconstructionism-based curricula are characterized by the inclusion of various healthcare and social dilemmas, which require professionalism and reaching consensuses to be solved.

Both theories can be integrated into the workplace. For example, progressivism might serve as a perfect tool for learning to think and adapt to new circumstances while reconstructionism might be useful for promoting teamwork and developing the ability to arrive at consensuses.


Billings, D. M., & Halstead, J. A. (2012). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (4th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

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Iwasiw, C. L., & Goldenberg, D. (2015). Curriculum development in nursing education (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: James & Barlett Learning.

Keating, S. B. (2011). Curriculum development and evaluation in nursing (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Wittman-Price, R. A., & Godshall, M. (2009). Certified nurse educator (CNE) review manual. New York, NY: Springer.

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