What Is Bloom’s Taxonomy? A Definition For Teachers
by TeachThought Staff
In one sentence, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills that can, among countless other uses, help teachers teach and students learn.
For example, Bloom’s Taxonomy can, for example, be used to create assessments, evaluate the complexity of assignments, design assessments, design curriculum, develop online courses. or plan project-based learning experiences for students.
A Brief History Of Bloom’s Taxonomy Revisions
Bloom’s Taxonomy was created by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, published as a kind of classification of learning outcomes and objectives that has, in the more than half-century since, been used for everything from framing digital tasks and evaluating apps to writing questions and assessments. (There’s even a YouTube video that uses Seinfeld to explain Bloom’s Taxonomy.)
The original sequence of cognitive skills was Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The framework was revised in 2001 by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl, yielding the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. (You can read more here.) The most significant change was the removal of ‘Synthesis’ and the addition of ‘Creation’ as the highest-level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. And being at the highest level, the implication is that it’s the most complex or demanding cognitive skill–or at least represents a kind of pinnacle for cognitive tasks.
How Bloom’s Taxonomy Is Useful For Teachers
In a separate post, we’re going to cover exactly how Bloom’s can be used by teachers. There are many reasons for the popularity of Bloom’s Taxonomy (that likely deserve an article of their own to explore). For now, it’s clear that many educators love Bloom’s because, among other virtues, it gives them a way to think about their teaching—and the subsequent learning of their students.
As mentioned above, the framework can be used to used to create assessments, evaluate the complexity of assignments, increase the rigor of a lesson, simplify an activity to help personalize learning, design a summative assessment, plan project-based learning, frame a group discussion, and more. Because it simply provides an order for cognitive behaviors, it can be applied to almost anything. (You can see one example here–one of our teaching materials that combined Bloom’s Taxonomy with common digital tasks.)
The image above visually demonstrates the heiarchy of Bloom’hierarchymy, which is crucial because it is that structure that characterizes its use. There are six levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy (the initialism RUA2EC may be useful to recall the levels).
The 6 Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy
As the graphic shows, the first level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to Remember.
Example activities at the Remembering level:
The second level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to Understand.
Example activities at the Understanding level:
The third level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to Apply.
Example activities at the Application level:
The fourth level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to Analyze.
Example activities at the Analysis level:
The fifth level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to Evaluate.
Example activities at the Evaluation level:
The sixth and final level of Bloom’s taxonomy is to Create.
Example activities at the Creation level:
You can sign-up for an upcoming TeachThought University online course for Bloom’s Taxonomy here.