Curriculum design for developing capacity to deal with complex issues

Theoretical perspectives

Cherry Stewart*, Ashfaq Khan, John Hedberg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    This chapter explores mental complexity theory in relation to curriculum design and development, and its relationship to implementation as interactive distance learning. The authors propose that a particular philosophical mindset leads a curriculum designer to choose learning designs that fit within a particular thinking paradigm. The learning strategies designers choose in constructing the curriculum impact significantly on how their learners approach and gain from these experiences. The study explores philosophical paradigms relating to how a curriculum might be conceived and communicated. The authors offer a framework for creating curriculums that help learners to develop skills, knowledge and attitudes appropriate for dealing with greater degrees of intellectual, social and environmental complexity. In this argument, different forms of mental complexity are linked to three learning metaphors and learning design strategies associated with distance learning. The reflections of a curriculum designer demonstrate a changing mental structure. The authors suggest that a curriculum should work on and improve learners' brain agility so they can deal with new and complex issues without being dependent on pre-determined knowledge or solutions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOutlooks and Opportunities in Blended and Distance Learning
    EditorsB. Tynan, J. Willems, R. James
    Place of PublicationHershey, PA
    PublisherIGI Global
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9781466642065
    ISBN (Print)146664205X, 9781466642058
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013

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