Application of Spiral Programming Model in Medical Education: A Review


1 MSc Student in Medical Education, Department of Medical Education, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 MSc of Epidemiology, Network Development Expert of Mashhad Health Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Professor, Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Student Research Committee, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.



Background: The spiral approach is a technique often used in education where the initial focus of instruction is the basic facts of a subject, with further details being introduced as learning progresses. In present study, we aimed to review the findings and results of various research in the form of a proper structure and extract and report the components of the concept of spiral curriculum, its features, advantages and disadvantages.
Materials and Methods: For conducting this review, online databases such as Medline, Scopus, ProQuest, Web of Science, SID, CIVILICA, and Google Scholar were systematically searched without time limit from inception up to March 2021. Based on the searches, 14 papers that concentrated on the spiral educational design model were found, of which spiral educational design model was applied for educational planning of students in nine research studies. These papers were extracted by the research team under close examination and their results.
Results: In various steps of repetition that increase the depth of contents at every stage, the results and consequences of applying the model in the spiral curriculum of the subjects from easy to hard are mentioned. Applying this significant approach, the spiral curriculum results in a deep understanding of knowledge, proficiency in performance, building confidence, strengthening long-term memory and strengthening thinking skills, problem solving, and decision-making in the learner. This kind of curriculum includes several characteristics and advantages.
Conclusion: The spiral curriculum reinforces learning by linking new knowledge to learners' prior cognitive construction. Spiral curriculum model could be applied at various levels of university education (general and specialized).