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The previous curriculum development steps provided the answers to four basic questions:


1.Why is this curriculum needed?

For whom is  it  being developed?

What are we trying to  teach  or  change?

How will we do  it?


(the issue statement)

(the target audience)

(intended outcomes and content)

(experiential education methods)

Phase III includes: producing the curriculum materials; testing and revising them; recruiting and training volunteers; and implementing the curriculum materials with the target audience. The logical progression includes:

(7) Produce Curriculum Product
(8)Test and Revise Curriculum
(9)Recruit and Train Facilitators
(10)Implement Curriculum


"Form follows Function "

The seventh step in the curriculum development process is the production of curriculum products (materials). After a review of the outlined information and procedures, curriculum developers will know:

  1. where to find existing curriculum materials;
  2. how to evaluate them;
  3. factors to consider before writing and producing new materials;
  4. production recommendations; and
  5. how to design and conduct a formative evaluation of the curriculum materials.

Find Existing Curriculum Materials

The cost, time, and financial commitment needed to develop curriculum is too great to waste on developing new materials when appropriate materials already exist. Can existing materials be used as they are? If not, perhaps with adaptations? Can a supplemental facilitator's guide be developed instead of all new materials? Consider the following questions before you decide to produce your own curriculum products:

  1. What type of printed or visual materials are needed?
  2. For whom is the product  intended? Rural-out-of-school youth? Facilitators and group leaders for rural-out-of-school youth? Both the youth and facilitators?
  3. Does curricula already exist to meet the need?

Networking is one of the best ways to find existing curricula. Ask others who work with youth audiences if they use or know of population education curriculum materials. Teachers, health professionals, college, and university professors all have access to information and research. They may know of population education materials. Check with not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at national and international levels for materials. For example, FAO curriculum materials should be reviewed before writing new curriculum materials. A list  of  references and organizations to contact  are provided in  Addendum K -Curriculum Resources. This list is not comprehensive and should be viewed only as a starting point. Members of your team can also help identify sources.

Networking via computer data bases and the internet can help identify sources of information and curriculum. Many organizations in the U.S. (e.g., National Council on Family Relations) have groups of professionals who subscribe to electronic bulletin boards available through the internet. A request for information from a professional group frequently results in helpful suggestions. Someone with access to the internet and knowledge of internet research techniques could be a valuable curriculum development team member!

Evaluate Existing Curriculum Materials

Content, methods of learning (activities), style, and format are criteria to evaluate existing curriculum materials. Review at least five different curriculum materials, they do not need to be in the same subject matter area (i.e., look at food and nutrition, environment, as well as population education). At this stage you are looking for ideas.  Expect to pay for some materials. Commercially produced materials can provide valuable insights on how to organize and creatively illustrate the curriculum content.

Checklist to evaluate curriculum materials:

Does the curriculum product fill a genuine need?   Will it help learners attain the intended outcome?   Does it address the issue of concern?
If something is already available in an appropriate form, it is a waste of time and resources to develop new materials.
Is the product economical—financially, in terms of production and use- comparable to available alternatives?
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis. If the product is purchased, how much will it cost? What additional costs would be incurred to train facilitators? Would it cost less or more to produce your own curriculum products?
Is the product well designed for the intended audience?
A well-developed curriculum fits the intended audience. Questions about writing,             layout, and font type appropriate for the target audience can be addressed through text books, workbooks, and magazines. What proportion of each page is type? What style of illustrations are most appropriate for the audience? How many different types of learning experiences are used? Are there suggestions for reflection (evaluation) on lessons learned and additional follow-up?
Does the product incorporate and support all phases of an experiential learning cycle?
Can the activities help learners attain the intended outcomes? Are learners encouraged to think and process what they have done and learned? Are opportunities (activities) provided for learners to compare, contrast, and evaluate what they have done? Are activities provided for learners to apply what has been learned to new situations? The experiential learning model (Figure 3, page 36) shows three steps a learner uses: 1) do, 2) reflect, and 3) apply. Unfortunately, many curriculum materials do not match intended outcomes to activities, nor are activities designed for participants to reflect upon what they have done or to apply the principles to new situations.

Using the above criteria to evaluate existing materials will help the team make judgements about their quality and if they can be used to meet the needs of the target audience. Can you justify creating your own materials? That determination must be made in relationship to the intended outcomes, the target audience, the identified needs, and the availability and quality of existing materials. You should be able to state how existing materials do or do not meet the needs identified as in the following example:

Statement of Need for Population Education Curriculum

Existing population education curriculum materials lack  a systems approach to population education. AH materials reviewed focus exclusively on family planning techniques. Mew curriculum materials are needed.

Factors To Consider Before Writing And Producing New Curriculum Products:

A number of factors need to be considered before new materials are developed:

  1. The writer should have knowledge of the issue, the target audience, and curriculum design. Ideally, the writer is a member of the curriculum design team and has been involved in the planning and decision making processes from the very beginning. If not, plan to spend time briefing the writer on team expectations and continue to work with the writer throughout the process. Feedback is critical to achieve the desired outcome.
  2. The type of publication must be identified.  Is the product for youth? For facilitators? Are handouts or worksheets included? The product needs to be "directed" toward a specific audience. It is helpful for the writer to meet with targeted audience members to write "for" them. The formative evaluation, in the next step, will provide valuable insights for the writer.
  3. Format is important. "Form follows function." If the product is for a facilitator, determine what a facilitator needs to  have  and  do  to facilitate an experiential learning process. The experiential learning model (Figures 3 and 4, pages 35 and 36) provides guidance (i.e., activity /experience, share, process, generalize, and apply).

    If the learner is the direct user of the product: determine what the learner will do; provide opportunities for them to reflect on their actions; and encourage them to apply what they learn to a new situation.

  4. Validity in curriculum materials is essential. Validity is when activities (what is done) aligns with the stated intended outcome (what we said we intended to do). Intended outcomes must be matched with supporting activities.

A list of standards for non-formal youth development curriculum products (Addendum L) and tips for printing (Addendum M) are provided in (adapted from the Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture Curriculum Development for Issues Programming (1992))



The final step is to produce a draft copy of the curriculum product to pilot test. It should be reviewed by several members of the curriculum development team, revised, and edited at least once before pilot testing. Allow time for revisions and rewrites. Quality takes time. Curriculum development is a creative process that requires gestation before it bears fruit. Ideally, the draft will include illustrations and resemble the final product.


"If you don't have time to do it right the first time, how in the world will you
ever find time to do it right a second time?"

This step is where everything is "put on the line."  It includes suggestions on how to pilot test the materials and to conduct a formative evaluation. Do not be intimidated by the words "formative evaluation." It is a process used to determine if a curriculum product is valid (if it does what is intended) and reliable (it consistently does what it is intended to do). After reviewing this step, you will know how to conduct a pilot test of the curriculum materials, evaluate them and the training provided for the test facilitators.

Facilitators test the curriculum product with target audience groups and provide the writer and the curriculum development team feedback. This step is divided into two separate phases: 1) the selection of group facilitators and pilot test sites and 2) the selection of evaluation tools to assess the effectiveness (validity and reliability) of the curriculum product.

Selection of Pilot Test Sites and Facilitators

Determine pilot test sites by the number of conditions affecting members of the target audience. For example, if new population education curriculum materials are developed for rural-out-of-school youth in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, and Jamaica, then the number of pilot test sites in each country would depend on conditions within each country (i.e., conditions in the mountainous rain forest area of Costa Rica are different from those in the plains region). The goal is to test the curriculum with a representative sample of youth from each area or "set of conditions" to evaluate its effectiveness.

The minimum number of test sites should be four, two pilot sites with experienced facilitators and two with inexperienced facilitators. The experienced facilitators will identify items that might be more effective, while the inexperienced will help identify areas where greater clarity is required. Depending on the area and the characteristics of the target audience, pilot testing should occur at 20 sites-or more if the materials will be used in several places, under differing circumstances, and when facilitation will be by both experienced and inexperienced facilitators. The goal is to develop an effective curriculum to help rural out-of-school youth understand the implications of population factors for the well being of the individual the family, and society. Feedback from the pilot facilitators will provide information and to help identify content and method training needs for additional facilitators.

Formative Evaluation for Testing Curriculum Materials

The purpose of a formative evaluation is to get feedback from the "end users" of the curriculum product. Feedback should identify if the learners attained the intended outcomes with the planned activities. If they had difficulty, items or activities causing the problem are identified and eliminated or changed before the final product is released. A sample formative evaluation schedule is provided in Addendum N. It reiterates the curriculum development process (used in U.S.formal education) with an emphasis on formative evaluation procedures. A sample pilot curriculum evaluation form is included in Addendum O. In addition to the responses provided in the form, it is ideal if members of the curriculum development team, especially the writer, conduct interviews or a focus group with learners from the target audience (rural out-of-school youth) and facilitators for indepth discussions on the effectiveness of the curriculum.

Summary of Formative Evaluation Check Points:

Do early trials with a few learners show that the product content is suitable for the target audience, the experiences (activities) are appropriate, and the learners enjoy the learning experience?
If not, revise your pilot materials and methods (activities) and try again. Pay careful attention to what your target audience members and facilitators say. They make the curriculum meaningful and realistic.
Does the curriculum product satisfactorily achieve specified learner outcomes with the target audience?
Even when your first pilot effort enables you to say "yes" to this last question, your pro­duct may not be in its final form. The version you publish and distribute may later be im­proved. Input from users will provide feedback for future revisions and improvements.
From the perspective of the learner, does the learning product have value?
Most youth today have a choice of more activities than time to explore them. Is your curriculum going to actively engage the learners? Will they consider it worth their time?
Do the pilot versions in all settings (delivery modes and conditions) work as intended (reliability)?
If not, there are two choices: 1) narrow the delivery modes or conditions where you use the materials or 2) modify the curriculum products to work in all settings (conditions).
Do tools such as pre- and post-test attitude questionnaire responses for learners and facilitators, transcripts of interviews, and evaluations of observers show that each learner outcome planned for in the curriculum is being met by a majority of the learners?
Use effective evaluation tools to ensure the new curriculum product accomplishes what you want it to accomplish. Keep improving it until it achieves what you want and need.
Do pilot groups include the diversity of conditions and settings of the groups you expect to use the final product?
In preparation for final pilot testing, have you trained the facilitators as they will be trained with the final product, using the same materials?
Will the program or product you design (and its marketing plan) assure a sizable and demonstrably reachable market?
New curriculum products are of no use if they do not reach the intended audience. The activities must be interesting (fun and usable) to the target audience and facilitators. Enthusiasm is a vital measurement of program success. The development of attitudes and values (e.g., population education) is as important as facts, concepts, and principles. A positive attitude toward the subject is more likely to have a more lasting impact.
Are the learners and facilitators aware of what has been accomplished?
Good non-formal youth education curricula include simple self assessments. They are ways to gather benchmark data and help youth assess their skills and abilities. They can also be used for reporting impact and are effective as reinforcement to learners and facilitators. Your imagination will be taxed to develop assessments that are appropriate, but they are worth the effort.
Does the curriculum product satisfactorily achieve specified learner outcomes with the target audience?
Even when your first pilot effort enables you to say "yes" to this last question, your product may not be in its final form. The version you publish and distribute may later be improved. Input from users will provide feedback for future revisions, changes, and improvements over the years.
From the perspective of the learner, does the learning product have value?
Most youth today have a choice of more activities than time to explore them. Is your curriculum going to actively engage the learners? Will they consider it worth their time?

This step included procedures to evaluate existing curriculum materials and to evaluate the pilot testing of the curriculum. The next section addresses the need to recruit and train curriculum facilitators.

"There are no mistakes, only learning experiences"

Dorothy Emerson


"A mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.''

It is a waste of time and resources to develop curriculum materials if facilitators are not adequately trained to use and implement the program. Even professional trainers and educators need to be trained in new content and methods. The facilitators who help learners attain program outcomes (i.e., teachers, trainers, leaders, guides, or mentors) must be trained. When the content includes sensitive issues (as is the case with population education) and group interaction is the primary method used to process content, training is critical.

This step addresses two major topics, recruiting volunteers to facilitate and implement the new curriculum and facilitator training. After reviewing this step you should be prepared to recruit volunteer facilitators and design a training program for them.

Recruit Volunteer Facilitators

First, identify the skills, knowledge, and characteristics needed for group facilitators to implement the curriculum. Next, perform a group facilitator task analysis (i.e., list everything that a facilitator would do to implement the curriculum) and develop a job description for the position. List group facilitator qualifications. Suggestions include:

Group Leader Qualifications to Consider:

  • Enthusiasm.
  • Experience working with youth .
  • Committed to helping youth.
  • Ability to organize and present ideas.
  • Ability to discuss gender & personally sensitive issues with ease.
  • Experience leading groups.
  • Openness to learning.
  • Ability to listen.
  • Ability to encourage discussion and participation from others (to coach).

Put yourself into the shoes of a volunteer facilitator. What would you want to know? Possible questions might include:

What volunteers want to know:
  • What will I be doing?
  • How  much will it cost? In time? In money?
  • Who sponsors the program?
  • Are curriculum materials and supplies provided?
  • Is  training provided? If so, What? When? Where? At  what cost?
  • How  much time will it take to promote the program, prepare lessons, and conduct group meetings?
  • What benefits) will 1 get from this? ("What's in it for me?")

A sample job description for group facilitators is included in Addendum P. Adapt the sample description to your own specific conditions. Use the job description you develop to recruit volunteer facilitators.

To recruit group facilitators, make a list of all the people you know who meet the qualifications and would be good at relating to youth (e.g., doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, clergy, perhaps a married couple as a team, etc.). Ask several people you know or who are recognized leaders (youth as well as adults) in the community if they know of someone who has the qualifications and would be interested. The facilitator needs to be an expert in only one area, using experiential learning methods with youth. Topic experts can be effective resources to present specific curriculum information. If the names of individuals are recommended more than once, be sure they are asked to volunteer. Youth are excellent recruiters when provided adequate information and coaching.


The facilitator's primary job is to create a learning environment where youth can discuss gender and morally sensitive issues openly as well as develop their decision making/problem solving skills.

Do not hesitate to ask for volunteers. The main reason people do not volunteer is because they have not been asked. Most people are flattered to be asked and willing to help. Stretch your imagination and reach out to find the best people in the community for this assignment. Be sure they understand what is expected of them and help them recognize the benefits. Find out if the candidates have the qualifications, characteristics, and commitment to provide exciting learning experiences for youth. Interview volunteer candidates to learn more about them. Ask for references. In some areas (e.g., in many U.S. States), the law may require a background check, including police records for all people who work with "under-age" youth (i.e., 18 years or younger).

Recruiting competent group facilitators is essential for successful curriculum implementation. Facilitators trained to implement and use the curriculum will help ensure high quality learning experiences for youth with greater impact. Recognition for service and contribution to the community will sustain and encourage volunteers.


“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank
account was, the sort of house I lived in,
or the kind of car I drove....
But the world may be different because
I was important in the life of a child."

Facilitator Training:

A training curriculum is developed using the same process used for the curriculum product, but adapted for training facilitators. Planning for Effective Training: A Guide to Curriculum Development by Wentling (FAO, 1993) is an excellent resource as well as T3: Training Trainers to Teach (1989). First, an overall strategy is developed that considers the skills and characteristics of the group facilitators as well as the tasks to facilitate group learning. Review the characteristics of adult learners (Addendum C) before planning the training curriculum. Establish intended outcomes for each major training component. The outcomes will enable the facilitator to learn group process techniques as well as the content and activities to support the intended outcome for the learner. Each training component should have a measurable intended outcome. It should be clear to the facilitators what they need to master to be a skilled group facilitator. After reviewing this step and the sample three day training program included in Addendum Q you will know what to include in a facilitator training program to implement the curriculum developed.

The experiential learning model provides excellent guidance on content and group process (do, reflect, apply). Keep the characteristics of adult learners in mind when choosing the types of activities and experiences you want them to do, reflect on, and apply when they are facilitating youth groups.

An effective facilitator training sequence:

  1. Introduce intended outcomes, content, and methods of the curriculum.
  2. Show trainees an example of a well presented lesson. Review steps and procedures. Ask them to critique effective techniques and identify needed improvements.
  3. Have facilitators prepare their own lessons to present to small groups of facilitators.
  4. Small groups participate, observe, and provide feedback to each facilitator about the activity or lesson.
  5. Facilitators share their observations with the whole group.
  6. Trends are identified and modifications made.
  7. Facilitators rework the same lessons incorporating new ideas/improvements.
  8. Conduct an evaluation of the training.
  9. Analyze "lessons learned" where learners reflect on what they learned. Identify areas where they excelled and where they need more improvement.
  10. Facilitators should complete an evaluation of the training and a plan of action that prepares them to implement the curriculum once the training is completed.

'The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches
but to reveal to him his own."

Benjamin Disraeli


"When all is said and done, it is what is done that counts."

This step identifies considerations and strategies to implement the developed curriculum product. Curriculum development is usually part of a larger and broader program initiated to address a major issue or problem. Members of the curriculum development team have collected knowledge about the learners (rural out-of-school youth), their needs, environment, and communities. They also understand how the curriculum addresses the issue. Their knowledge of the target audience and the ways to address the issue through curriculum learning processes uniquely qualifies them to plan how the curriculum can be incorporated into the total program. After reviewing this step team members will know what to consider to develop and implement a  plan to promote and use the curriculum developed.

Considerations and strategies for implementation:

  1. What is the most effective way to recruit members of the target audience to participate in the curriculum activities? Are there existing organizations that can collaborate (i.e., rural youth groups, religious groups, older boy scout and girl scout organizations, etc.)? Are there co-sponsoring opportunities with program and service organizations (e.g., Rotary, Lions, Extension HomeMakers Clubs, etc.)? Are there additional organizations or ways of recruiting participants in your community?
  2. What is the most effective way to promote the program with other organizations? Would it be appropriate in your area to promote participation through the radio, television, and newspapers? Consider a puppet show, short role play or dramatic presentation in a public square, at a village fair, or some other community gathering. Are there ways to use the creative and performing arts to promote participation? Can music draw attention and recruit participation? Consult with team members, try target audience focus groups to identify suggestions for the most effective recruitment strategies.
  3. What promotional support could be included for facilitators? Would a promotional flyer be effective? Would slide sets, overheads, posters, audio video aids, and/or promotional tapes be helpful? The best promotional supports for facilitators need to be simple and effective. Consult with facilitators to determine what they would use.

Key leaders in the community or collaborating organizations must be convinced of the value of the curriculum product and the potential success of the program to benefit individuals and the community. Volunteer facilitators should be enthusiastic and see the curriculum as important. They should also recognize the personal benefits they may receive from volunteering (e.g., training and experience in population education).  Create a system of recognition to thank them for their contributions of time and talent, if there is not one already in existence,.

Youth are often the most enthusiastic promoters of an idea or program, especially if they are recruiting peers to participate. They must be enthusiastic to get involved. Recruit participants from the pilot testing groups to plan and carry out the marketing plan. Focus on the activities and interactions among the group members (as appropriate to the situation, stage of development, and level of education) of the target audience. The performing arts are a creative medium to involve youth in learning.

The promotion and implementation of curriculum materials requires attention and sensitivity to the customer (i.e., the target audience), the environment in which it is presented, and the issues it addresses (with focus on the benefits to individuals). Know where a strong interest exists among youth. Identify then build on successes. Learn from experiences and strive for continuous improvement. Be inclusive and collaborative in selecting your support.

Although the implementation step is discussed near the end of the curriculum development process, it should be part of the overall planning strategy from the beginning. By "keeping the end in mind" throughout the whole development process, most of the considerations in this step will already be known. The same principle applies to the next phase, evaluation and reporting.

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