What is Bloom's Taxonomy?
The story in regards to the cognitive processes began in
1948, when a group of educators embarked on the journey of categorizing
educational goals and objectives. Their main area of interest was three domains
which needed to be classified. They were: the cognitive, the affective, and the
psychomotor. So when the classification was finished and the work came to an
end the cognitive domain surfaced in the 1950s and was known as Bloom's Taxonomy
of the Cognitive Domain. There were other taxonomies developed in the process
as well but by a group of other educators who focused their interest on
affective and psychomotor domains.
Before we go any further it is important to know what
taxonomy means as it is not every day you hear this word and it may be that
most people will never even use this word. The word “taxonomy” simply means a
certain way to group things together. For e.g. in biology classes’ Linnaean
taxonomy is most renowned where you have a bunch of animals and you can group
them according to various characteristics and give them or assign them names.
Bloom's taxonomy is somewhat similar to this where three domains were
classified as follows:
- The cognitive – which is a knowledge based domain, comprising of six levels
- The affective – which is an attitudinal based domain, comprising of five levels, and
- The psychomotor – which is a skills based domain, comprising of six levels
The idea behind Bloom's Taxonomy was to create some sort of
technique to classify thinking behaviors that were considered to be an
important component in the processes of learning. After a period of time this
framework of learning became taxonomy of three domains.
If you go in-depth you will be highly amazed how the Bloom's
Taxonomy model is structured. It is said to be a multi-tiered model of
categorizing the thinking process according to six cognitive levels of
difficulty. Through the sands of time these levels have been given various
names, such as a stairway, that lead many educators to motivate their pupils to
"climb to a higher domain of thought." The uppermost three planes
are: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation and the lowermost three levels are
called: knowledge, comprehension, and application. This taxonomy is said to
hierarchical; meaning that level is incorporated by the greater levels. In
common terms, you as a student operational at the 'application' level has also
conquered the matter at the 'knowledge' and 'comprehension ‘planes’. Once you
understand this pattern then it will become clear to you that these levels flow
at different levels in harmony that is divided into lower and higher level
Over the years some changes have been made to the Bloom's
Taxonomy model and they may seem dramatic at first, however, they are quite
logical and make perfect sense when carefully inspected. If you look at Bloom's
Taxonomy model it appears to be one-dimensional, however the improvised version
that can be seen in the table below is a two-dimensional model. Furthermore, in
the two dimensional model one of the dimensions recognizes The Knowledge
Dimension (or the type of knowledge to be acquired) while the second signifies
The Cognitive Process Dimension (or the means used to learn). Moreover, as seen
below in the table it is evident that their intersection (the knowledge and
cognitive process categories) form twenty-four separate cells.
If you go in-depth, you will see that the Knowledge
Dimension is arranged on the left side and comprises of four levels that are
conveyed as Factual, Conceptual, Procedural, and Meta-Cognitive. The Cognitive
Process Dimension throughout the top of the grid comprises of six levels that
are segregated as Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.
Moreover, each plane of both these dimensions in the table is then further
Furthermore, as you can see, in the table below every single
piece of the of the four Knowledge Dimension planes is sectioned further into
either three or four categories (i.e. Factual is split into Factual, Knowledge
of Terminology, and Knowledge of Specific Details and Elements). The Cognitive
Process Dimension levels are also further divided into a number of sectors in
each level that ranged from a low of three to a high of eight categories.
Additionally, the improvised table has further divided Remember into the three
categories of Remember, Recognizing, and Recalling whereas the Understanding
level is divided into eight separate categories. Therefore, the resultant
framework that contains 19 subcategories is mostly useful for educators and
teachers in both writing aims and bring into line guidelines with curricular.
To summarize, through the sands of time, Bloom's Taxonomy
has not only evolved from one dimension to two dimension conceptual model that
included terms such as above average and low level thinking, it has been
closely associated with multiple intelligences problem solving skills, creative
and critical thinking, and more recently, technology integration as well.
So if you want to see a simulation of the Revised Taxonomy
model, you can do so by using, a lesson aimed upon the story of Goldilocks and
the Three Bears that is presented here for every single rank of the Cognitive
Process as shown on the Revised Taxonomy Table.
Describe where Goldilocks lived.
Summarize what the Goldilocks story was about.
Apply: Construct a
theory as to why Goldilocks went into the house.
Differentiate between how Goldilocks reacted and how you would react in each
whether or not you think this really happened to Goldilocks.
Create: Compose a
song, skit, poem, or rap to convey the Goldilocks story in a new form.
The above mentioned demonstration is one of the simplest
applications of Bloom's Taxonomy. However, more complex functions are also
performed to get a better grip of concepts through the utility of the Revised
Taxonomy Table. The Bloom's Taxonomy is a constant work in evolution and is
said to be constantly developing and perhaps that might be true with each
passage of time, a new, perhaps a three dimensional classification may arise.
COGNITIVE PROCESS DIMENSION TABLE
COGNITIVE PROCESS DIMENSION
Elements & Components
Use math algorithm
Create short story
Define levels of cognitive
Describe taxonomy in own words
Write objectives using taxonomy
Differentiate levels of cognitive
Critique written objectives
Create new classification system
Specific Skills & Techniques
Criteria for Use
List steps in problem solving
Paraphrase problem solving process
in own words
Use problem solving process for
Compare convergent and divergent
Critique appropriateness of
techniques used in case analysis
Develop original approach to
List elements of personal learning
Describe implications of learning
Develop study skills appropriate
to learning style
Compare elements of dimensions in
Critique appropriateness of
particular learning style theory to own learning
Create an original learning style