Monday, January 4, 2016

Bloom's Taxonomy - Still Relevant After All These Years

What follows is a quick summary of a phrase we often hear being thrown around – Bloom’s Taxonomy. I tried to keep it short and prosaic, avoiding cryptic academic jargon whenever possible. The list of verbs on the next page was taken from Washington Board of Vocational Education.

Bloom’s Domains

Cognitive (about knowing)
Affective (about attitudes, feelings)
Psychomotor (about doing)

Formulated by Bloom and his associates, his cognitive and affective domains were completed and published in the 1950s. Psychomotor was never published. The Cognitive domain is most often what is being referred to when discussing Bloom’s taxonomy.

Cognitive Domain: A Hierarchy of Six Levels 
  • Knowledge: the recall of specific items
  • Comprehension: can recall, but can do a little more (e.g. paraphrase, define, discuss to some extent)
  • Application: all of the above, but can take information of an abstract nature and use it in concrete situations
  • Analysis: can break down a communication into its constituent parts, revealing the relationships among them
  • Synthesis: can pull together many disorganized elements or parts so as to form a whole
  • Evaluation: makes judgements about the value of materials or methods.

For myself, breaking down the levels into sets of questions helped me get the full grasp of each step towards high-order thinking. I put together an example below:

Knowledge based question: What are the health benefits of jogging?

Comprehension based question: Compare the health benefits of jogging vs. weight training.

Application based question: Which kinds of exercises are best for building muscle and why?

Analysis based question: List four ways to exercise with weights and explain which have the highest health benefits. Provide references to support your statements.

Synthesis based question: Convert an ineffective exercise for cardio training into an effective method by changing the style or technique. Explain the health benefits of using the technique you chose vs. the other.

Evaluation based question: Do you feel that cardio training provides more overall health benefits as opposed to weight training? Why or why not?

Verbs to help with writing objectives in the Cognitive Domain.

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