Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy


Benjamin Samuel Bloom (February 21, 1913 – September 13, 1999) 

Bloom’s taxonomy is used for categorizing educational learning objectives based on the complexity and specificity of their content. The models divide learning objectives into three categories: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.

Bloom’s taxonomy was created to encourage higher-order thinking skills in students, such as examining and evaluating procedures, processes, concepts, and principles, rather than just memorizing facts. It’s a pyramid-shaped framework for educational achievement in which each level is dependent on the one below it. The model is most used in instructional design to create effective learning objectives.

Origins Of the Model

A committee of educators created the taxonomy at the University of Chicago, and the models were named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee. In 1956, he edited the first volume of the standard text Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.

LED leaders still use Bloom’s taxonomy to design training experiences for their learners, providing a lot of value. But, of course, there’s a lot that goes into creating a successful training program. Bill Milted, an instructional design expert, shares his five essential strategies for effective course design in this on-demand webinar recording.

The Three Domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy

The Cognitive Model is the model’s focus, with six levels of objectives starting with knowledge—the very first stage of learning—and progressing to the development of the skills and abilities needed to complete the process: comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

While each stage has subcategories, they all exist on a continuum. The belief is that learners progress up Bloom’s taxonomy pyramid, starting at the bottom and working their way up to gain a deeper understanding of a subject. Each level is critical to the development of the next.

New And Improved Taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy was significantly revised in 2001, despite being revised every year for the previous 16 years. The original, static, one-dimensional educational objectives were replaced with a more dynamic language, providing learners with clearer objectives. Learners should be provided with clear expectations. However, Certified ID9 Professionals use the original Bloom’s taxonomy due to it’s foolproof and comprehensive elements.

Bloom’s taxonomy framework is still relevant in all learning environments. It allows instructors/course developers and learners to set attainable goals to understand and plan to achieve.

Bloom’s Taxonomy & Instructional Design

Learning goals can be viewed from a behavioral standpoint. When instructional designers work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to create courses, they can see what students can do due to the instruction they have received at each level.

Courses can be designed with appropriate content and instruction to lead learners up the learning pyramid using categorization. Instructional designers can also design useful assessment tools (such as quizzes) to ensure that each category is met. As a result, each part of the course material is in line with the level’s objectives.

In a corporate setting, several stages are frequently interconnected and blend into one another. Learners may be unfamiliar with Bloom’s taxonomy, and if the instructional design is sound, there is little need for a learner to know the underpinning theoretical basis to a lesson. Still, on occasions, it can help them fill the gap between their knowledge and learning requirements to achieve a higher level of knowledge and perform better at work.

Bloom’s taxonomy is used for creating measurable goals, which is ideal for corporate learning and development. The learner will gain a new skill or level of domain expertise if the framework is followed correctly. Instructional designers will effectively assess this learning as the course progresses through each stage of the framework.

How Bloom’s Theory Can Aid in Course Design

The course objectives are too broad. Instead, we demonstrate mastery of one-course level objectives by combining several lesson level objectives. To come up with good course-level objectives, we must first ask ourselves, “What do I want the participants to do differently at end of the course?” Because it explains the learning process, Bloom’s taxonomy is an effective tool for developing learning objectives.

  • Before you can comprehend a concept, you must first remember it.
  • You must first know and comprehend a concept before you can put it into practice.
  • Before you can evaluate a process, you must first analyze it.
  • To come up with an accurate conclusion, you must first conduct a thorough investigation.

Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Cognitive Domain (original)

How Bloom’s Theory Works with Learning Objectives

Fortunately, “verb tables” exist to assist in determining which action verbs correspond to each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The most significant distinction between course and lesson level objectives is that course level objectives are not directly assessed.

We must ensure that mastery of all the lesson level objectives below confirms that a student has mastery of the course level objective. In other words, if your students can demonstrate (through assessment) that they can complete all the lesson-level objectives given in a particular section. Once done, instructors can agree they have mastery of the course level objective.  Following is how Bloom’s works with course level and lesson level objectives:

  • The course’s goals are broad. You may only have 3-5 course-level objectives. Because they cover all your course’s topics, they’d be difficult to quantify directly.
  • We use lesson-level objectives to demonstrate that a student understands the course-level objectives.
  • We accomplish this by establishing lesson-level objectives that lead to the course-level goal.

Always remember that to demonstrate mastery of one-course level objective, a student may need to demonstrate mastery of eight lesson level objectives. Steps to writing effective learning objectives include the following:

  • All objectives should have one measurable verb.
  • One verb is required for each objective.
  • A student either masters or fails to master the objective.

However, it is important to know what happens if a student can define but not apply an objective with two verbs (say, define, and apply)? Is it possible that they’re demonstrating mastery? For this, you need to make sure the verbs in the course level objective are at the same Bloom’s Taxonomy level as the highest lesson level objectives that support it. In addition, ensure that all your learning objectives should be measurable, clear, and concise.

Benjamin Bloom:  Link to ID9 Intelligent Design

Benjamin Bloom’s work is pivotal in ID9 Intelligent Design and is considered a Major Influential Theorist. 

Higher order thinking, based on learning taxonomies such as Bloom’s Taxonomy links to the process of

asking questions thus elevating the basic question to ‘Higher Order Questions’. The idea is that some types of learning require more cognitive processing than others, but also have more generalized benefits.

While Bloom’s Taxonomy has been quite useful in that it has extended learning from simply  remembering to more complex cognitive structures, such as analyzing and evaluating, newer models have come along. It has also become more useful with the revised taxonomy in the mid-nineties

However, one useful model is the Structure of Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO) taxonomy. It is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in a learner’s understanding of subjects (Biggs, Collis, 1982).

ID9® draws on Bloom’s Taxonomy as an overall targeted approach when developing the course outline, the learning objectives and then integrating them into the learning design Step 5: Topic Rotation Tool – Drawing together adult learning engagement methods and styles to assist in the transfer and application process.  ID9 Intelligent Design practitioners use Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Cognitive Domain to establish learning objectives which guide and drive the learning from start to end.

In Conclusion

Finally, if you are unsure or having difficulty with using Bloom’s taxonomy, contact us today!

Bloom’s taxonomy is one of many foundational theories underpinning ID9 Intelligent Design.

We would be happy to work with you!