AMEE Guide No. 21: Curriculum mapping: a tool for transparent and authentic teaching and learning

Med Teach. 2001 Mar;23(2):123-137. doi: 10.1080/01421590120036547.


The curriculum is a sophisticated blend of educational strategies, course content, learning outcomes, educational experiences, assessment, the educational environment and the individual students' learning style, personal timetable and programme of work. Curriculum mapping can help both staff and students by displaying these key elements of the curriculum, and the relationships between them. Students can identify what, when, where and how they can learn. Staff can be clear about their role in the big picture. The scope and sequence of student learning is made explicit, links with assessment are clarified and curriculum planning becomes more effective and efficient. In this way the curriculum is more transparent to all the stakeholders including the teachers, the students, the curriculum developer, the manager, the public and the researcher. The windows through which the curriculum map can be explored may include: (1) the expected learning outcomes; (2) curriculum content or areas of expertise covered; (3) student assessment; (4) learning opportunities; (5) learning location; (6) learning resources; (7) timetable; (8) staff; (9) curriculum management; (10) students. Nine steps are described in the development of a curriculum map and practical suggestions are made as to how curriculum maps can be introduced in practice to the benefit of all concerned. The key to a really effective integrated curriculum is to get teachers to exchange information about what is being taught and to coordinate this so that it reflects the overall goals of the school. This can be achieved through curriculum mapping, which has become an essential tool for the implementation and development of a curriculum. Faced with curricula which are becoming more centralized and less departmentally based, and with curricula including both core and optional elements, the teacher may find that the curriculum map is the glue which holds the curriculum together.