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Bloom’s Taxonomy is brought up a lot amongst educators and instructional designers. It’s a go-to resource when designing class activities, as it details different practices students can achieve throughout the learning experience. In today’s post, let’s go through each of the six elements of the revised version. I’ll provide some examples of activities that can work with each level.
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Video
Original vs. Revised
Bloom and co.’s original taxonomy was published in 1956. The categories of learning goals were as follows:
The further down the list you go, the more complex the learning goal.
In 2001, a group of cognitive psychologists, curriculum theorists, and instructional researchers revised the taxonomy into six slightly different categories:
This revised version is quite popular, as it’s a more dynamic way of perceiving student learning. Once again, the learning is more complex the further down the list you go.
This taxonomy is often depicted alongside lists of action verbs that tie to each element. For example:
So, let’s discuss each element and provide some example activities for each.
Being able to recall information is a key aspect of the learning experience. If you can’t remember what a term means, how can you use it without constantly looking up what it means first? If you can’t remember the steps in a process, how can you do the process on your own?
So class activities involve recalling information. Perhaps a definitions quiz or a short answer activity that requires students to demonstrate that they know what a term means or that they remember the steps of a process or the elements of a concept.
This taxonomy element is likely very popular in prerequisite courses where students learn basic terms, concepts, processes.
Just because a student can remember a definition or the steps in a process, doesn’t mean they understand the term or process. That’s where this element comes into play. A student can repeat a definition you taught them. Great. Do they understand its meaning or is it just some words on a page?
For this element, you might ask students to provide term definitions or concept explanations in their own words. Or, perhaps have them compare the similarities and differences between different terms, concepts, or processes. Have them teach the term or process to someone else, to make sure they actually understand it.
This element is essential for prereq courses, as well.
Ok, so they understand various terms, concepts, processes. Can they apply this knowledge to different situations? Can they perceive real world examples of these things?
In a literature course, can a student identify metaphors in a poem? In a writing course, can they interpret whether ethos, pathos, or logos strategies are being used? In an algebra course, can they solve for x? In a marketing course, can they write copy that converts?
At this stage, students are starting to get more practical experience with the new knowledge or skills they’ve gained.
It’s time for students to explore the nuances of the terms, concepts, processes. To analyze how they are used and how they’ve changed over time and how they work in different situations.
Analyzing texts is a huge element of any literature course, but this activity can be done in many ways. Students can write a paper, record a podcast, lead a class discussion. In a biology course, students can analyze what makes different animals fit into different classifications. In a medical course, students can diagnose the likely cause of certain symptoms. In a history course, students can organize different countries by their governmental structures.
Complex connections are being made at this level of the taxonomy.
Students can analyze the application of a concept or different versions of a process. Now, can they also evaluate this application? See the advantages and limitations of a certain version of this process? Analysis and Evaluation can seem pretty similar, but I see the latter as requiring more dynamic thinking from the student.
Have a political science major weigh the pros and cons of taking a certain political action. Have law students debate controversial or trending topics. Have business majors judge the best social media platforms to market different types of products.
I feel like this level of learning creates a lot of opportunity for engaging activities. But, the last level is my favorite.
Students have a lot of knowledge of these new terms, concepts, processes. Can they create something amazing using this knowledge or new skills? The create stage allows students to really take charge of their learning and make it their own.
In a creative writing class, have students write an allegory. In an education course, assign students to create a lesson plan for a unit in a future course they’ll teach. In a business class, require students to create business plans and present them to their classmates as if asking for an investment. In a glassblowing class, have students create unique salt and pepper shakers.
So many fun options! These activities tend to be very time-consuming, so keep that in mind when deciding how many to include in your course.
All six stages can happen in one course. Or only the first two. Or first four. Or, or, or. When teaching general education literature courses, I tend to go through all six stages. But, a lot of literature courses, stop at stage five. I feel having students write a creative text is essential, as it gives them a very different perspective of literary works than just reading and analyzing them. Consider which elements of the taxonomy you need or want in your classroom. Then, explore the list of verbs that are often included in the taxonomy diagrams. For more instructional design frameworks, check out my YouTube channel playlist.