Approaches to mapping an undergraduate medical curriculum to a national competency-based catalogue of learning outcomes

Med Teach. 2021 Jan 19;1-14. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2020.1854704. Online ahead of print.


Background: Curriculum mapping plays an increasing role in the design and implementation of competency-based medical education. We present an exemplary mapping of an institutional undergraduate medical curriculum to a national competency-based outcome framework to compare approaches to mapping procedures in their capacity to depict the relative coverage.

Methods: The mapping process was performed by a small working group that continuously reconciled its findings. In step 1, we mapped the course objectives of our programme (Charité Berlin, Germany) to the National Competency-Based Catalogue of Learning Outcomes Medicine (NKLM). In step 2, we employed three primarily quantitative approaches (single, multiple, and subordinate match) and one primarily qualitative approach (content comparison) to derive the degree of NKLM coverage.

Results: In step 1, we mapped a total of 4400 programme objectives to 2105 NKLM objectives. In step 2, the quantitative approaches provided a general overview of the pattern of coverage, while the qualitative approach required more effort but provided a better representation of the scope and depth of coverage.

Discussion: The mapping approach chosen markedly impacts on the results how of well an institutional curriculum covers a national standard. This study highlights the need for more rigour in the methodology and reporting of curriculum mapping.

Keywords: Curriculum mapping; catalogue of learning outcomes; competency-based education; undergraduate medical programme.