Curriculum Development: The Tyler Model

The Tyler Model, developed by Ralph Tyler in the 1940’s, is the quintessential prototype of curriculum development in the scientific approach. One could almost dare to say that every certified teacher in America and maybe beyond has developed curriculum either directly or indirectly using this model or one of the many variations.

Tyler did not intend for his contribution to curriculum to be a lockstep model for development. Originally, he wrote down his ideas in a book Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction for his students to give them an idea about principles for to making curriculum. The brilliance of Tyler’s model is that it was one of the first models and it was and still is a highly simple model consisting of four steps.

  1. Determine the school’s purposes (aka objectives)
  2. Identify educational experiences related to purpose
  3. Organize the experiences
  4. Evaluate the purposes

Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction

Step one is determining the objectives of the school or class. In other words, what do the students need to do in order to be successful? Each subject has natural objectives that are indicators of mastery. All objectives need to be consistent with the philosophy of the school and this is often neglected in curriculum development. For example, a school that is developing an English curriculum may create an objective that students will write essays. This would be one of many objectives within the curriculum.

Step two is developing learning experiences that help the students to achieve step one. For example, if students need to meet the objective of writing an essay. The learning experience might be a demonstration by the teacher of writing an essay. The students than might practice writing essays. The experience (essay demonstration and writing) is consistent with the objective (Student will write an essay).

Step three is organizing the experiences. Should the teacher demonstrate first or should the students learn by writing immediately? Either way could work and preference is determined by the philosophy of the teacher and the needs of the students. The point is that the teacher needs to determine a logical order of experiences for the students.

Lastly, step four is evaluation of the objectives. Now the teacher assesses the students’ ability to write an essay. There are many ways to do this. For example, the teacher could have the students write an essay without assistance. If they can do this, it is evidence that the students have achieved the objective of the lesson.

There are variations on this model. However, the Tyler model is still considered by many to be the strongest model for curriculum development.



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67 thoughts on “Curriculum Development: The Tyler Model

  1. Ibrahim Abdullahi

    I find it very intresting and I need more explanation on the four basic fundemental question of Rapl Tyller

  2. shaka kassim

    much respect to my dearest lecturer sir Mligo of STEMMUCO.he made me to pass through this brilliant “class” of Tyler as he gave me an assignment on the models of curriculum. I really,appreciate what Tyler “classed” me. thank u Tyler, thank u sir mligo- the so called Mligo Mwamba.

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  5. Seth N. Essien

    Tyler’s models is simple and straight forward to apply but I’m trying to assess its strength and weaknesses in our present time. Can someone help me, please?

  6. Haliru A. H

    this is what i am actually looking for… “Tyler model of curriculum development ” thank you so much….

  7. Elaine M. Peters, Hon.B.A. PHE, M.Sc.Ed.

    Please explain how this curriculum development development would suit students who are not strong in the verbal linguistic learning style ? Perhaps other types of essays would be permitted for students with other learning strengths such as the opportunity to create a photographic sluse show, diorama, musical score, dramatization, or video essay? Humans learn in a variety of different ways.

    1. Dr. Darrin

      Good question. The Tyler model is used for having a process for what you want to put into a curriculum. This means that anybody can follow this model and put whatever they want into their curriculum. There is no right or wrong content in a Tyler curriculum. What makes a curriculum a Tyler model is if it follows the four steps that Tyler proposed. This means you can have videos, essays or, whatever else works for your students.

    2. Mensah Ebenezer Appiah

      Yes very true but I think the writer was just citing an example for clear understanding. He want to say that you don’t plant pawpaw to harvest mango. You should design your work base on your objective

      Mensah Ebenezer

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    1. Dr. Darrin

      i’m not an expert on Kenyan education so it would be hard to answer that. I think it’s better if you look at Tyler’s model and see if it reminds you of anything you see in Kenyan education


    Thanks sir, my question is ‘Are there criticisms of the Tyler’s model of curriculum design ?

    1. PhD person

      Herbert M. Kliebard incisively criticized the Tyler Model a long time ago–1970–pointing out many of the problems and assumptions that go into Tyler’s approach, an approach whose roots actually go back to the 1800s with Frederick Taylor’s ideas on management. Peter Taubman also presents some excellent critiques of the Tyler Model and explanations for why it has persisted in education–namely because of neoliberalism and the appropriation of concepts from learning sciences and business. Start with Kliebard and Taubman (and read Paulo Freire to take you someplace else) and then see what works for you. Also, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing publishes fine work that may also help you answer your question about the Tyler Model.

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  12. kamalludeen

    this Tyler model is the best ever we people in Nigeria we agreeing using Tyler model any more. but how will i build a junior secondary school curriculum using Tyler model please?

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    1. Kanubo daniel method

      Very nice explanation which helps me to answer an assignment at university level about curriculum.

  14. Michael josephat, at University of Dodoma,Tanzania.

    I find most of things are useful to me, but need simple manipulation to fit the need of Tanzanian education system………….

  15. danirentjana

    Sometimes, it makes me wonder why some books written by ‘experts’ do not serve as simple as this kind of elaboration. I found the article helps me a lot in understanding the Tyler’s model. Thank you very much, sir.
    Best regards from Indonesia.

  16. Noloyiso Tshangana

    Well explained thank you so much i will now be able to do my assignment on Tyler’s model.


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  19. Nicola Crick

    This was very informative, thank you. I would like to use a quote from you if I may but unsure how to cite you properly.

    1. Ndifreke Robert

      Thank you so much on this work. But i want to cite you in my work so as to use your quotes. Thank you

  20. Khristina Hogan

    Thanks from the USA. I found your article more informative than the information provided by my professor.

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  22. քɦɨʟɨք ҡաɛʍօɨ

    ɨռ ʄaċt tɦɛ ɨռʄօ ɦaʋɛ ʀɛaɖ ɦas ɢɨʋɛռ ʍɛ a ɖɛɛքɛʀ ʊռɖɛʀstaռɖɨռɢ օʄ tʏʟɛʀ’s ʟɨռɛaʀ ʍօɖɛʟ օʄ ċʊʀʀɨċʊʟʊʍ ɖɛsɨɢռ tɦaռҡs aʟօt

  23. Rev. okyere

    I am interested in this model. can the Tyler;s model be use as a theoretical framework on performance of students in mathematics?

  24. Kongnyuy Elvis S.

    Thank you very much for this brilliant summary. I think it is excellent and simple to understand, especially with your example taken.



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