Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives
At Drexel University, when teachers develop their courses they have the students in mind. They want to make sure that the students are learning the material in an effective way, to retain the information and use each course as a base to build upon as they progress not just in their education, but their career. To this end, they utilize Blooms Taxonomy of Learning.
What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?
In 1956, Benjamin Bloom led a group of educational psychologists in defining the levels of intellectual behavior important to the learning process. They created a pyramid with Blooms Taxonomy of Learning Objectives, each level representing a step in understanding at a high level — ranging from simply remembering to creating. The pyramid can be seen below, and following Bloom’s taxonomy of learning meant that educators covered all levels of the pyramid, creating a well-rounded educational experience.
In the late 1990s however, a new group of cognitive psychologists updated Bloom’s taxonomy definitions to better reflect the 21st century. With Lorin Anderson (a former student of Bloom’s) at the head, this group made changes in an effort at helping Bloom’s taxonomy retain relevancy.
The nouns associated with each of Bloom’s Taxonomy levels were replaced with verbs to more accurately produce evidence that demonstrates student learning. This evidence consists of a variety of student produced work including papers, exams, presentations, performances and portfolios which are assessed by our faculty for the various stages of the pyramid.
The Stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy
The stages ascend in complexity and what they demand of students. First students need to simply remember information provided to them — but reciting something doesn’t demonstrate having learned it, only memorization. With understanding comes the ability to explain the ideas and concepts to others. The students are then challenged to apply the information and use it in new ways, helping to gain a deeper understanding of previously covered material and demonstrating it moving forward.
Questioning information is a vital part of learning, and both analysis and evaluation do just this. Analyzing asks a student to examine the information in a new way, and evaluation demands the student appraise the material in a way that lets them defend or argue against it as they determine. The final step in the revised taxonomy is creating, which entails a developing new product or point of view. How does this learned information impact your world? How can it be used to impact not just your education but the way you interact with your surroundings?
By utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy while developing the programs at Drexel, our faculty challenge students to achieve more. Students who learn in this manner are not going to forget the information as soon as the class ends — rather, they retain and apply the information as they continue to grow as a student and in their careers, staying one step ahead of the competition.