Curriculum Instructional Design: Scope of Work


The term curriculum describes the content to be covered and the path learners follow.  This describes a wide range of situations. Many groups weigh in on curricular concerns for education.  The instructional design describes the elements of the course and content delivery.  Often the educator charged with the content deliver creates the instructional design.  Design elements include:

  • Pedagogical concerns.
  • Didactic sequences.
  • Learner specific requirements. 

In addition, it considers methods of instruction, differentiation, assessment, and evaluation to create an experience for each learner in the given situation. Curriculum embodies a larger-scale vision of content while the instructional design is the clearer operational definition of how to attain that vision. Individuals engaged in CID must agree upon the desired results and scope of work

Layers of Overlap

To manage a design project, outside instructional designers provide insight into the way curriculum strategic plans become specific instructional designs for teachers.  However, this third-party consultation and support may not lead to effective outcomes.  Those involved in the process must clearly examine the scope of work.  Then the teacher delineates his or her level of responsibility and the associated amount of work thus, those involved clearly identify the scope of work charged to each person and the level of leadership ascribed to each.

Scope of Work

Usually, teachers select a scope of work based on his or her place in the educational system.  This varies greatly with each situation.  By understanding CID as a shared process, curriculum makers, instructional designers, teachers, and the administrators share information and collaborate on the general plan, particular overall design, and specific implementation.   This facilitates coherence and coordination.   The chart below ( Figure 1.) breaks the levels into two groups. 

The column on the left “Larger Learning Goals” lists the levels of overarching curriculum connected to the levels that align with the description of a course of study in a discipline.  These appear more in higher education settings but apply to any study of subject matter.  The column on the right “Specific Learning Goals” lists the levels seen throughout education dealing with curriculum-aligned more closely with the connection to direct contact with learners.

The Levels of Scope of Work

Larger Learning GoalsSpecific Learning Goals
Course Sequence       
Learning object
Figure 1: Levels of Scope of Work

Scope Tied to Results

Isolation of involved parties poses a huge challenge to effective design.  This leads to the pressure to produce results without any clear guidelines or contact with the other participants in the process. 

Thus you need to define your own scope of work and the expected results for you and other members working on this.  This facilitates open discussion and a clear picture of how each person will present results.

For some, a working curriculum document specifies outcomes.  For others, completion of required forms or accreditation package comprises the entire scope of work.  Knowing your own priorities and how that interfaces with the group and project goals allows for better more effective communication and collaboration.


If you want to cite this blog article, please use the following:

Lipuma, J., & Leon, C. (2020, May 4). Curriculum Instructional Design: Scope of Work. James Lipuma´s Blog.


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