What is a Spiral Curriculum?

spiral small

The concept of spiraled integration comes up a lot in discussion about Curriculum Renewal.

The spiral curriculum is a popular model based on the theory that any content can be learned by any person if presented effectively. The basic components of a spiral curriculum are:

  • Learners revisit topics several times throughout the program.
  • The complexity of the material increases with each revisit.
  • New concepts build on previous learning.

Spiraling supports comprehensive learning where connections are made over time. In the renewed curriculum, systems (clinical medicine) and themes will spiral through the program. The curriculum will build from fundamental content such as basic terms to more complicated concepts to complex analysis and application of knowledge. This is a big contrast from the current structure where learning is concentrated in blocks.

The following example shows how a system could start spiraling through the first two years of courses (MEDD 411, 412, 421, and 422). This is just one example. All of the systems and themes will be similarly spiraled with primary and secondary content integrated throughout the program.

(click for larger image)

system spiral sample


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