The continuing use of the SPICES model in 'SAVOURING' curriculum development

John A. Dent (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The SPICES model, described by Harden, Sowden, and Dunn in Medical Education 1984, presents a way of re-focussing a traditional curriculum by the addition of various educational strategies or 'SPICES'. These 'SPICES', Student-centred learning, a Problem-based approach, Integrated learning, Community-based education, Elective elements, and a Systematic approach meet perceived deficiencies in a conventional teaching programme and can contribute to the delivery of a reformed curriculum which addresses the educational needs of contemporary healthcare professionals.

The evidence: During almost 40 years now the SPICES model has achieved international recognition as a key approach to curriculum development. Its importance in the design, delivery, and audit of a curriculum remains relevant today as is evidenced by:

• The number of citations in the medical education literature.
• Its inclusion as a key element of curriculum development in standard texts of medical education.
• Its prominence as a component of established Certificate, Diploma and Masters courses in medical education.
• The number of presentations or posters on curriculum development in the annual AMEE conference.
• The international reports of its use in the design and delivery of a curriculum.
• The international reports of its use in individual course design.In curriculum design for other healthcare disciplines.
• In its role in curriculum auditing and reform.

The continuing usefulness: This article revises the principles of the SPICES model. It reflects on examples of its continuing international use; its use for curriculum design and development in a variety of healthcare disciplines; and its role in curriculum audit and revision. It also comments on some of the suggested alternatives and modifications described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760–765
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number7
Early online date11 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Curriculum design
  • community-oriented
  • multiprofessional
  • staff development


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