Learning is a complex process that involves the integration of various cognitive, affective, and psychomotor elements. One of the most widely recognized frameworks for understanding how learning happens is Bloom's Taxonomy, which was first developed by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom in the 1950s.
Table of Contents
What is the Bloom’s Taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy, originally entitled The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, is a hierarchical system that categorizes different types of learning into three main domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Below is a video that briefly describes the framework.
The head: cognitive domain
The cognitive domain is concerned with the acquisition and application of knowledge and understanding. This includes tasks such as remembering, understanding and analyzing information. The cognitive domain is often thought of as the “thinking” part of learning and is divided into six levels:
- Remembering: recalling previously learned information
- Understanding: Comprehending the meaning of information
- Applying: Using the information in new and different ways
- Analysing: Breaking down information into component parts and understanding how they relate to each other
- Evaluating: Making judgements about the value of information
- Creating: Using information to generate new ideas or products
The heart: affective domain
The affective domain is focused on the development of attitudes and emotions related to learning. This includes tasks such as valuing, organising and internalising information. The affective domain is often thought of as the “feeling” part of learning and is divided into five levels:
- Receiving: Being open to new information
- Responding: Acting on new information
- Valuing: Assessing the importance of information
- Organising: Integrating new information into existing knowledge
- Characterising by a value or set of values: Internalising information and making it a part of one’s belief system.
The hands: psychomotor domain
The psychomotor domain is focused on the physical movement and manipulation of objects. This includes tasks such as performing, experimenting, and constructing. The psychomotor domain is often thought of as the “doing” part of learning and is divided into four levels:
- Perceiving: Being aware of one’s physical movements
- Responding: Acting on physical sensations
- Valuing: Assessing the importance of physical movements
- Organising: Coordinating physical movements to achieve a goal
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful framework for understanding how learning happens because it provides a clear and comprehensive way to categorize different types of learning. By understanding the different levels within each domain, educators and learners can better design and implement instruction that addresses the unique needs of each individual learner.
What are the appropriate assessments for each level?
Assessments are an important tool for measuring student learning and understanding. When it comes to assessing students’ understanding of the cognitive domain, as outlined in Bloom’s Taxonomy, there are several different types of assessments that are appropriate for each level.
It is important to note that assessments can measure multiple levels at the same time and that students can be at different levels on different topics. Additionally, some assessments may not fit exactly into one level and can overlap with other levels.
What are the critiques for this framework?
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a valuable tool for understanding the complex process of learning. By recognising the different cognitive, affective, and psychomotor elements that contribute to learning, educators and learners can design and implement instruction that is tailored to the unique needs of each individual learner.
However, it is important to note that learning is not limited to these three domains and many activities can involve multiple domains at the same time. Also, it is not necessary to move through the levels in order and some people may start at a higher level and others at a lower level.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a widely recognised framework for understanding how learning happens, but it has also been the subject of some criticism. Some of the key critiques against the framework include:
- Lack of specificity: Some critics argue that the taxonomy is too broad and not specific enough to be useful in practice. The categories and levels within each domain can be quite general and may not capture the complexity of learning.
- Inflexibility: The taxonomy is often seen as a linear progression, with students expected to move through the levels in a specific order. However, learning is not always linear, and some students may begin at a higher level or move through the levels in a different order than expected.
- Limited scope: The taxonomy is focused on cognitive and behavioral aspects of learning, but it does not take into account other important aspects of learning such as motivation, emotions, or social factors.
- Lack of cultural sensitivity: The taxonomy is based on Western perspectives and may not be applicable to other cultures or educational contexts.
Some popular alternatives to Bloom’s Taxonomy include:
- Marzano’s New Taxonomy: Developed by Robert Marzano, this framework focuses on the cognitive processes used in learning, such as creating, evaluating, analyzing, applying, and understanding.
- Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK): Developed by Norman Webb, this framework focuses on the level of complexity and critical thinking required for different types of tasks, such as recall, strategic thinking, and extended thinking.
- SOLO Taxonomy: Developed by Biggs and Collis, this framework focuses on the structure of knowledge and the levels of complexity in learning, such as prestructural, unistructural, multistructural, and relational.
- 21st Century Skills: This framework focuses on the skills needed for success in the 21st century, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and communication.
Each framework has its own strengths and limitations and may be more suitable for certain educational contexts or subjects. It is important to consider the specific needs and goals of the learners and the curriculum when selecting a framework.
We are Strawberry Solutions
We are Australia’s leading content creators for the education industry. We can help your business develop innovative new learning experiences to inspire minds like never before.
We’ll help bring your lessons to life. We work with a range of clients from K-12, RTOs, higher education, corporate learning and development to the government.
Our team consists of a talented crew of graphic designers, instructional designers, animators, video editors, voiceover artists and eLearning developers who create sophisticated, multimedia SCORM output.