How Curriculum Mapping Helps Students Learn More

March 16, 2022 Watermark Insights

How well do the students at your school learn? This is often the million-dollar question for administrators at colleges, as the goal of any educational institution is to foster learning. There's always room for colleges to grow to meet student needs, especially when it comes to curriculum. Fortunately, curriculum mapping can help — and it can even ensure faculty become more well-equipped in their roles.

Continue reading to learn more about how improving student curriculum through curriculum mapping can benefit both faculty and students.

What Is Curriculum Mapping?

In short, curriculum mapping is the process of assessing curriculum data to maintain a record of what students are learning and when they're learning it. This strategy also helps educators identify potential curriculum issues, such as gaps and repetition. When you use curriculum mapping, you can ensure every student is learning new information at the correct time in their education journey.

two students working on paper

The Importance of Curriculum Mapping

Knowing what components make curriculum effective is crucial to understanding curriculum mapping. A coherent, semester-long lesson plan is well-organized, intentional, and appropriate. In other words, a curriculum should meet academic expectations to keep students on track so they're prepared for the future.

Concerns like information misalignment can negatively affect how well students learn about a given subject. Using curriculum mapping to find areas for improvement guarantees that students aren't learning certain information too soon or too late. This approach also ensures students are gaining new knowledge, which they can use as building blocks as they advance to higher-level courses.

For instructors, curriculum mapping makes lesson planning simpler. When instructors are aware of what information their students have already learned, they can ensure their curriculum is new and advanced so students continue up the metaphorical education ladder. Without curriculum mapping, educators may find themselves inadvertently teaching their students subjects they already know or topics that are too upper-level for them.

Overall, the benefits of curriculum mapping for students and faculty are substantial.

The Benefits of Curriculum Mapping for Improving Student Learning

Developing a curriculum improvement plan starts with curriculum mapping. Here are four key benefits of curriculum mapping to show you why it's a worthwhile strategy for your higher learning institution.

1. Allows for Enhanced Collaboration

Today, curriculum mapping takes place digitally, so professors who use curriculum mapping in the same departments can access each other's plans. If two instructors are teaching the same course, they can work together to ensure students in both classes will come away with similar knowledge. Alternatively, faculty who teach more advanced courses can check that their lesson plans won't introduce unfamiliar content.

This approach helps encourage faculty to grow in their roles, too. Rather than sticking to the same curriculum each year, instructors are challenged to reflect on how they can adjust their courses. In a setting like higher education where innovation is constantly happening, being prepared for change is a crucial skill.

Ultimately, curriculum mapping is an effective way to encourage faculty to work with one another and develop newfound abilities as they map out their courses.

2. Makes Accessing Resources Simpler

Because curriculum mapping is inherently collaborative, faculty can build a plethora of resources as they create their respective lesson plans. If a professor is interested in screening a film, they can look through professors' past curriculum maps to identify an appropriate option. This selection of resources helps instructors avoid repeating learning activities while drawing inspiration from past ideas.

Furthermore, curriculum mapping creates a centralized hub of resources that live within your school. Rather than professors keeping personal lesson plans, faculty will share their curriculum maps through the cloud, meaning they exist forever. If an instructor moves on to another higher learning institution, colleagues won't have to do any guesswork — that instructor's strategies are still available to them.

3. Helps Faculty Reach Benchmarks

One of the most considerable pros of curriculum mapping is that educators can use it to enhance student learning.

A curriculum map is crucial for identifying where instructors can improve their courses. If an instructor maps their current curriculum and notices they're teaching a concept their students haven't yet learned, they can quickly revise the lesson to ensure it matches their course level. As a result, they'll likely notice an improvement in learning outcomes, such as higher engagement in the classroom.

Alternatively, curriculum mapping ensures faculty isn't wasting time teaching familiar content. After students pass an introductory course, they'll usually move on to a higher-level class that expands on the concepts they've already learned. If a professor spends a lot of time reviewing old information, their students will quickly become disengaged from the class.

Because curriculum mapping is a collaborative process amongst faculty, they can work together to create lesson plans that help their students learn as much as possible.

4. Ensures Students Remain Engaged

When it comes to choosing where to attend college, students make their decision based on numerous factors, such as finances, degree programs, size, and more. Another key variable is the kinds of classes they'll be taking to pursue their intended path. As students review sample courses during orientation, they want to see a plethora of courses that teach them what they need to know and nourish their passion for learning.

Without curriculum mapping, students may end up in courses that negatively impact their college experience. If a student is in an introductory course that feels too advanced, they'll likely quickly become discouraged from that subject, which may influence their decision to stay on a given degree path. When numerous students are frustrated because professors are testing them on information they've never learned, they may even begin to feel as though college isn't right for them.

Maintaining high student engagement levels directly reflects on your higher education institution's retention rates. With proper curriculum mapping techniques, faculty have the strategies they need to remove ineffective, repetitive material. As a result, students will be in classes that fit their current knowledge levels, helping them remain satisfied and committed through their college experience.

laptop with curriculum mapping software on the screen

Streamline Your Curriculum With Watermark

Introducing curriculum mapping in your higher education institution will take both time and effort. Watermark can help your faculty take charge of the curriculum mapping process with a comprehensive platform.

Watermark Curriculum Strategy allows educators to collaborate with one another while creating accessible curriculum maps. There's no need for instructors to store their curriculum plans in folders or on hard drives. Through the Watermark platform, they can upload their lesson plans, resources, activities, and more so that colleagues can compare curriculum maps. As a result, you can build entire course catalogs and handbooks that outline each course you offer at your college.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo today to get started.

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