Are We Using Bloom’s Taxonomy Correctly?

Prateeksha Dutt March 2, 2020
How does learning happen?How do people learn? Does it work the same for adults and children? These are some obvious questions with not so obvious answers! To cut the discussion short learning pattern and curve may be little different for different people but one thing is consistent that is: Learning is progressive. And hence teaching as well as assessing should also be progressive! Bloom’s Taxonomy comes handy  while designing the teaching/ learning that is progressive in nature!! Blooms taxonomy is often used while designing educational objectives, experiences, problems or questions, training and learning processes.Like any other strategy it is important to use it correctly, and there are many ways to do this.We will share our views here about the possible  ways. While most of us know Bloom’s taxonomy but for the benefit of others, Bloom’s Taxonomy  is the systematic classification of the processes of thinking and learning.Benjamin Bloom and his fellow educationists identified  three dimensions of educational activities: Cognitive (Knowledge), skills (psychomotor) and Attitude. From Pyramid represents the systematic classification of processes with Cognitive (knowledge) at the top and Attitudes at the bottom   Blooms taxonomy is relevant in the cognitive domain.It was developed  in the year 1956 to promote higher forms of thinking in education. Basically, it is a hierarchical framework for systematic skill development and testing. What it does is, sequence the learning, to make it effective.In this taxonomy thinking has been classified according to six cognitive levels of complexity, namely Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.  These skills are arranged as per following pyramid. The image represents the old version of bloom's Pyramid with Evaluation at the top and knowledge at the bottom   Skills, Knowledge, comprehension and Application are referred to as lower level thinking skills. Importance of  lower thinking skills should not be underestimated as they form the base of the pyramid and hence are crucial in cognitive development.Without lower order thinking skills form the base and without the strong base the pyramid will fall flat. Skills Analysis, synthesis and evaluation are referred to as High order thinking skills and they form the top part of the learning Pyramid.However, this framework was revised by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl in the year 2001.   Here is the revised version: The image represents the new version of bloom's Pyramid with Creating at the top and remembering at the bottom   This clearly shows the progression in the thinking level and one cannot move to higher levels without mastering the lower order.To understand these cognitive levels let us take the example of lion and rat story,which most of us can relate to. Remember:Remembering refers to recall of previous learned information,  Example  Where did the lion live? What happened to him? Who helped the lion when he was trapped? Understand: Understanding means comprehending the meaning Example:Narrate the story in your own words.  Apply:  Applying is using the concept in new situation,  Example: If you were in place of the lion/mouse, what would you do? Analyze: It refers to separating the concept into components. Example:  What is the moral of the story?  Evaluate: Evaluating refers to making judgement about the value of the idea. Example:Assess the characters of the lion and the mouse.Are there people in your life who have the characteristics displayed by the two?  Create: It refers to putting parts together. Example  Convert the story into a play, replacing animals with human beings. What level to be taken depends on the level of kids too. In the kinder garden we teach the story to the kid but at that age they can just take the knowledge and cannot go beyond.High order thinking skills is possible only when they are say in grades 4 or 5.So the bottom line is Bloom’s taxonomy must be used progressively, and every level has its own importance. Do not ignore lower thinking skills such as knowledge and understanding they form the foundation.

Prateeksha Dutt

As a Lead Instructional Designer with Magic Edtech, Prateeksha is actively engaged in conceptualizing and designing various digital learning objects and immersive offerings.