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Curriculum mapping for health professions education: a typology

Eilean Genevieve S. Watson, Carole Steketee, Kylie Mansfield, Maxine Moore, Bronwen Dalziel, Arvin Damodaran, Ben Walker, Robbert J. Duvivier, Wendy Hu


Introduction: Across higher education, curriculum mapping has attracted great interest, partly driven by the need to map graduate competencies to learning and assessment for quality assurance and accreditation. Other drivers have included the need to: a) provide tools for curriculum design and renewal, b) improve communication amongst teachers and curriculum developers and c) support learning by informing students about the scope and sequence of their programs. Those embarking on curriculum mapping have sought clarification about what elements of the curriculum should be mapped, how to develop their own map or whether they should adopt externally available products. During our combined experience of mapping six different medical programs over the course of 15 years, we have frequently sought answers to these questions. However, due to the many and varying types of curriculum maps and curriculum-mapping processes that are described in the literature, answers have not been readily forthcoming. 

Methods: We conducted a comprehensive review of the higher education—including health professions—literature to develop a four-dimensional typology for curriculum maps, which details features related to their purpose, product, process and display. The typology was validated by testing the parameters against six curriculum maps from medical schools around Australia.

Results: Using a synthesis of 265 higher education publications, we created a structured framework and common language around the four dimensions of curriculum mapping. 

Discussion: The typology can be used by health professions educators to make key decisions about the many curriculum map options available.



curriculum; maps; information management; educational technology; education; learning; teaching; organization and administration; health professions; professional

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