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Tyler (1949) Bloom (1965)




Stenhouse (1975)








Focuses on role of teacher as "expert"


Concerned with guiding students towards achievement of an "end state" (which may be a body of knowledge or a level of competence)


Clear definition of learning outcomes (which may be expressed in terms of a Knowledge & Skills Framework)


The "end state" is often defined by external (assessment) agencies.


Emphasis on assessment (often summative - albeit incremental)




Focuses on role of teacher as "facilitator".


Concerned with guiding students to engage in the learning process and to develop their capacity for learning.


Emphasis on means rather than ends.


Encourages learner autonomy.


More individualised.


Assumption that learners make unique response to learning experiences.








Precise definition of learning outcomes which avoids vague general "statements of intent".


Assessment is precise.


Enables content to be selected and structured.


Clear definition of "levels" of learning / accomplishment.




Emphasis on engagement and interaction (of teachers and learners).


Emphasis on "learning skills".


Encourages learners to appreciate intrinsic value of certain learning activities (not merely as means to an end").








At lower levels, behavioural objectives can be trite.


At higher levels, behavioural objectives can be difficult to define.


Affective domain (being more about "attitude") not easily constrained within a list of specific behaviours.


Can be over-prescriptive.


Discourages creativity.


Can be restricted insofar as there is temptation to "teach to the exam".




Lack of emphasis on appropriate content.


Not easy to apply approach in some (subject) areas.


Difficult to assess objectively.


Can become heavily dependent on tutor as a facilitative resource (with little recourse to "backup resources").


Students may be confused at not having strict guidelines.







The tutor says: "You are all heading for the same destination.  I've got the map. Stick close to me and I'll get you there."



The tutor says: "You are all heading for different destinations.  You may need different maps.  I'll teach you map-reading skills."





Bloom, B. (1965) Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York: David McKay Company, Inc


Neary, M. (2002) Curriculum Studies in Post-Compulsory and Adult Education. Cheltenham: Nelson-Thornes.


Stenhouse, L. (1975) An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development. London, Heinemann.


Tyler, R. W. (1949) Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



See also:

What is a Curriculum?

Curriculum Concepts

Factors affecting curriculum design

Quality Assurance & the Curriculum


Designing Schemes of Work