3 Tips for Curriculum Mapping Success

In the over 15 years of partnering with our medical school customers, we’ve worked with many administrators and leaders facing challenges with mapping their curriculum and approaching continuous quality improvement endeavors. 

Executing a successful curriculum mapping project holds great rewards, producing valuable data for students, faculty, administrators, and leadership. The task of creating a comprehensive curriculum map, or overhauling an existing curriculum map as your institution undergoes curriculum reform can be daunting. Schools often struggle determining where to start. 

We have seen our fair share of ambitious curriculum mapping work turn out to require much more time and effort than originally estimated. Projects that failed often did so because the final result was just not useful enough. 

To avoid these potential pitfalls when mapping your curriculum, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

1. Make your curriculum map useful for learners

Think of your curriculum map as more than just administrative overhead. In our experience, schools that make their curriculum useful for students enjoy a map that is more comprehensive, updated more frequently, and used more by faculty and administration. This occurs because of the nature of the adjustments that faculty and administration make to match their processes up with student behavior. 

2. Use data to drive updates

Users perform curriculum searches far more often than they navigate the curriculum. Try to keep tabs on the types of searches users perform. You can also ask users what other data they’d like to find while they are performing a search. Use the qualitative and quantitative data you collect to justify changes to your curriculum map. 

3. Add detail in small increments

If you are considering changes to your curriculum map, you may want to start by testing that those changes will produce value for your users on a small scale. In practice, this means mapping one course instead of ten, or having a few students generate reports while you watch them work, or creating a test installation of your curriculum map where you can play around without worrying about making mistakes. The goal of these small experiments is to get users excited about the results. Whenever a suggestion is made to change the curriculum, try and ask, “how can we test that this will add value?”

By proceeding carefully and matching your curriculum mapping efforts with the most valuable use cases for those efforts, your curriculum mapping project is sure to see greater success and buy-in from learners, faculty, and administrators. 

Want to dig a little deeper into our curriculum management recommendations? Check out curriculum mapping best practices presentation for more.