Curriculum or Program?

Why use a curriculum over a program?

I always get asked the question “When should we use a curriculum over a program?”. The answer is it really depends on the training.

If the training leads to compliance where a regulator will audit you then you will want to choose a curriculum. Curriculums were specifically designed to be strict for compliance and audit purposes. Curriculums support detailed tracking of compliance and qualifications for highly regulated industries. If the training is not for compliance purposes and a are a bundle of items, then programs will be a better choice. Programs are the newer option of the two which utilizes the Fiori look and feel. Many clients find Programs to have a better user experience based off the overall look and feel of the program compared to Curriculums. Outlined below are the SuccessFactors definitions of curriculums and programs and the individual feature comparisons between the two.

What is a Curriculum?

A Curriculum is a set of one or more items that can be assigned and tracked as a group.

Curriculums may be used to track recurring training, allow credit for previously completed training, and provide users with a choice of how to complete requirements. Curriculums provides the functionality to recalculate required by dates on items that have been completed, but must be repeated on a recurring basis. They may include sub-curriculums so that the entire set rolls up to one overall completion status for the top-level curriculum. A Curriculum is considered complete when all requirements are complete.

Figure 1 - My Learning Assignments view with Curricula assigned
Figure 1 – My Learning Assignments view with Curricula assigned

The status may change over time as users complete items for the first time and attempt to complete retraining each additional time. Failing an item or missing a retraining date may cause the curriculum to show a status of incomplete. A curriculum can be designed to have different triggers and retraining periods. They can have unique prerequisite rules as well a specific requirement like completing a certain amount of training hours or a certain number of items out of a pool of items. Curriculums can be linked to a job code or assignment profile and automatically be assigned. They can also be associated to a catalog for users to electively assign to themselves or they can be manually assigned to users

When a curriculum is assigned, the individual items associated to the curriculum will be assigned to the learner and appear on their learning assignments tile. The image below is a look at a user’s learning assignments and the different items assigned, as well as which curriculum the assignment is part of. In the second screenshot this is the view the learner gets when they click on the fold for the curriculum to see the full list of items associated to the curriculum.

Figure 2 - Curriculum View
Figure 2 – Curriculum View

What is a Program?

A Program consists of learning activities that creates a schedule of learning.

The schedule is controlled by the Program’s agenda, which functions like an academic syllabus. The learning activities can be learning items, or they can be external content such as a welcome video hosted on the company intranet. You can also put in links to outside websites or any custom text for the learning to read. Program activities may need to be completed in sequence or during specific date periods. Scheduled-type programs may contain specific scheduled offerings and permit the users to be registered into all of them at the same time when they are registered into the program itself. Programs can be setup to have required dates for items but the big difference between a Curriculum is that a Program cannot be setup for retraining. Programs can be assigned to users by their supervisor, by an admin directly or auto assigned through Assignment Profiles. They can also be made available in the catalog for users to self-assign the program.

When a program is assigned to a learner just the program appears in the learning assignments tile unlike how a curriculum is assigned with all the items getting assigned in the assignment tile. The nice thing about programs is that a user can easily see their progress bar right from their learning assignment without opening the program as you can see below.

Figure 3 - My Learning view with Program assigned
Figure 3 – My Learning view with Program assigned

Once the learner views their program they will see their agenda and what is required for completion.

Figure 4 - Program view with Agenda/Sections
Figure 4 – Program view with Agenda/Sections

Curriculums and Programs Feature Comparison

Use this table to compare individual features of the system and to understand how the feature works with curriculums and how it works with programs. This comparison came specifically from SAP.

Figure 5 – Curriculums and Programs Feature Comparison
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