All entries for Monday 22 October 2018

October 22, 2018

The ABC of International Curriculum Design – Nick McKie

As part of the curriculum development planning for the Warwick PGCE international course we attended an engaging hands-on session led by lead academic technologist, Abigail Ball.

The main premise of this session was to enable us to identify the key principals of course delivery before we drilled down further into module content planning. The session was structured around the Arena Blended Connected (ABC) curriculum development model which we used as prism through which to craft reflections on our own curriculum development.

The ABC model

Created by UCL Digital Education, the ABC model is a collaborative workshop where a visual story board is produced to sequence learning activities, assessment and outcomes. Through this model we looked at the following different learning types:

  • Acquisition: listening to a lecture, reading from books and watching demos.
  • Collaboration: discussion, practice and production.
  • Discussion: articulate ideas and questions.
  • Investigation: explore, compare and critique.
  • Practice: adapt actions to the task and use feedback for improvement.
  • Production: articulating current understanding and how to apply this.

We initially mapped how both the local (primary and secondary) and international PGCE programmes are/would be delivered in terms of the above learning types, marking the frequency we would use each learning principal (see below).

ABC learning type map for PGCEi

Firstly, we focussed on the current local PGCE course, plotting in red before mapping the proposed PGCE international course in black. We were then able to understand the difference in terms of delivery approach between the two sister courses which going forward would help to inform our planning.

Local vs international

In terms of production and practice curriculum elements, we saw a close synergy between the local and international offerings. Assessed teaching practice benchmarked against the UK Standards, assessment points throughout the course and masters level assignments being compulsory components.

In comparison to the international programme, we believed the local PGCE is perhaps slightly more acquisition focussed, mainly due to the increased face to face university element including access to conferences and workshops across campus.

In relation to the strengths of the proposed PGCE international course, we were looking at deeper expectations around collaboration, discussion and investigation. These elements would be promoted in terms of the face to face induction, online ‘live’ sessions and self-study preparation.


It was clear from the curriculum development session that the key Pedagogical tenets of the PGCE international programme are to be centred on collaboration, discussion and investigation. Ensuring these elements are woven through the module planning will be a key focus.

The session also helped cement thoughts around the unique selling points of the programme. Whilst the main ingredients of the new course will be international in outlook, alignment to our domestic offering will also provide a ‘local’ UK flavour.

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