Kern’s 6-Step Method to Curriculum Development

Problem identification and general needs assessmentIdentify a general or specific focus for the curriculum and describe it in a clear manner
Analyze the gap between the current approach to the issue and the ideal approach
Targeted needs assessmentAssess the needs of the targeted learners, including previous training and experience, baseline knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and preferred approaches
Assess the learning environment, related existing curricula, needs of stakeholders other than the learners, and barriers to implementation
Goals and objectivesGoals: broad, general statements of what you want to accomplish
Objectives: more specific and focus on knowledge, attitudes, and skills by using action verbs that target the level of expected competency
Should be framed as, “Who will do how much of what by when?”
Educational strategiesEducational methods should be chosen that best fit the type of objective and will most likely achieve the goals and objectives.
Examples include lectures, small group evaluations, online modules, hands-on procedural training, etc.
ImplementationSteps include
 Identify resources
 Obtain support
 Develop administrative mechanisms to support the curriculum
 Anticipate and address barriers
 Plan to introduce the curriculum
Evaluation and feedbackAssess the learning outcomes and promote continuous improvement
Incorporate learner assessment methods that are feasible and measure the desired competency
Used to provide formative feedback and outcome measures
Establish methods for evaluating the efficacy of the curriculum components in achieving the desired learner outcome
  • Adapted from Thomas PA, Kern DE, Hughes MT, Chen BY. Curriculum Development for Medical Education: A Six-Step Approach. 3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2016:6-9.