What Is Ralph Tyler’s Model for Curriculum Design?

Todd Petrie/CC-BY 2.0

The model for curriculum design, established by Ralph W. Tyler in 1949, proposed that teachers establish teaching plans to give students the most effective education. Tyler published his work in a book called “Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction.” In the book, Tyler suggested for the first time that teachers organize and evaluate their lesson plans in addition to simply evaluating students.

With “Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction,” Tyler shifted some of the burden of learning to teachers. Teachers, instead of just students, had responsibility for achieving a set level of performance. The Tyler model proposed, for the first time, that educational curricula should expand and change to accommodate learning styles of students, teaching methods of instructors and to reflect new information and technologies in certain academic fields. The Tyler model for classroom instruction presented a novel approach to educational assessment, planning and evaluation that broke from the tradition of simply lecturing students then assessing knowledge through a series of tests. Tyler’s model proposed that instructors spend equal amounts of time assessing instructional plans and evaluating student learning. The four sections of the book include chapters on establishing objectives, focusing on learning experiences, planning and organizing short-term and long-term instruction tutorials and evaluating student and teacher progress.