Bloom's Taxonomy

Back to Basics – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy gets teaching back to basics and reminds us that students should not get through school by just memorizing facts.

Bloom's Taxonomy

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Instead of teaching only information, this philosophy suggests using that information to develop skills.

Dr. Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist, led the creation of Bloom’s Taxonomy in 1956 to promote higher levels of thinking in place of rote learning. Bloom’s committee used the science of classification (taxonomy) to identify three categories, or domains, of knowledge: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor. Educators have since referred to them as KSA, referring to Knowledge (Cognitive), Skills (Psychomotor), and Attitudes (Affective).

A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy titled “A Taxonomy for Teaching and Assessment” was published in 2001 in which psychologists, curriculum theorists, instructional researchers, and testing/assessment specialists chose to describe the cognitive processes with action words. They hoped that the title would highlight a more dynamic classification for encountering and working with knowledge.

Cognitive Domain

Bloom's TaxonomyMost teachers concentrate on the cognitive aspects of learning and teaching. You probably spend most of your time in the classroom giving information to your students and devising methods for them to retain what they learn. You are well-trained in evaluating cognitive learning through review of homework, testing, and class discussion. Even if you are not familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy’s cognitive domain, you probably recognize the levels of learning set forth in it:

Knowledge, or remembering information learned, is the first level in which students learn the material presented and can recall basic concepts, terms, and facts.
Comprehension, or understanding facts and ideas, is the next step of the domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students demonstrate their understanding of the facts and ideas presented to them by interpreting, organizing, translating, comparing, and stating the main ideas of the lesson.
Application, or applying that knowledge and using it in a different way or to solve a new problem is the third level.
Analysis, or analyzing information, suggests Bloom, encourages students to break down the information learned into parts to allow them to better understand the cause of a problem and identify facts to support their reasoning behind the solution.
Synthesis, or creating information and ideas, is the next level of this domain. Students learn to put parts together to form a new structure or meaning, using their creativity and originality.
Evaluation, or evaluating information, allows students to make judgments about the value of ideas or materials, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Affective Domain

Bloom's TaxonomyThis domain challenges teachers and students alike. As teachers, you must strive to find some method to engage your students and attract their interest. What will motivate them? What is the best form of communication to use for your subject? Is use of technology appropriate? Application of Bloom’s Taxonomy to using game-based learning may be a way to increase student learning by tapping into this domain comprised of the following levels:

Receiving what is being taught through textbooks, discussion, or classroom activities.
Responding or reacting in some way such as completing assignments, willingly reading beyond the assignment, or questioning new concepts to gain understanding.
Valuing is recognized as the student taking the information learned and associating some value to this new knowledge.
Organization shows that at this level the student can bring together values, ideas, and information learned and compare them.
Characterizing is the top level at which students build abstract knowledge.

Psychomotor Domain

Bloom's TaxonomyPlease note that Bloom never completed work on this domain, but there have been versions suggested by others that deal with this action-based classification. Physical dexterity is the focus and psychomotor objectives deal with behavior development and development of skills. You don’t have to be a physical education teacher to utilize this philosophy! You can apply the principles in teaching a new process, learning operation of a machine, playing the piano, or building a model. The levels of this taxonomy domain are:

Imitation, in which an action is explained and demonstrated, and the student repeats it.
Manipulation takes the student to the next level by teaching them to perform an action, but this time without seeing it; the student uses verbal or written directions.
Precision, which requires independent action from the student without instruction.
Articulation is listed as the fourth level of the taxonomy and recognizes well-developed skills learned to permit the student to proceed with confidence to perform an action confidently.
Naturalization is automatic performance at the highest level.

Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used in conjunction with other learning techniques. Try combining this skill-based philosophy with inquiry-based learning in the classroom. Bloom’s Taxonomy can help you to clarify objectives, both for yourself and your students. This organized plan will then assist you in your presentation of instruction and your ability to balance it with assessment, ensuring that your instruction helps students build useful, life-long skills.

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Resources:
Armstrong, Patricia. Bloom’s Taxonomy, from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/
Borich, G.D. (1996) Effective teaching methods, 3rd Ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ; Merrill from http://courses, washington.edu/pharm439/Bloomstax.htm
Clark,D. (1999) Bloom’s Taxonomy Learning Domains, from http://www.nwlink.com/-donclark/hrd/bloom.html
Kirk, Karin. What is the Affective Domain Anyway from http://serc.carleton,edu/NAGTWorkshops/affective/intro.html
Author unknown from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_taxonomy

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Sue Hamilton

Sue is a Pennsylvania native and graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.S. degree in English. She worked as a radio newscaster and newspaper reporter before becoming a paralegal in a small civil law firm. Reading is her passion and Sue is an avid volunteer with her community library.

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