Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives or Bloom’s Taxonomy as it popularly called is the model named after Benjamin Bloom and is one of the key frameworks for classifying thinking behaviours, which are believed to be important in the process of learning. While it was aimed at the educators, but now it has grown to be a widely accepted practice model for researchers, corporate trainers as well as instructional designers.

Bloom’s taxonomy classifies the learning objectives into  three domains, which are:

Cognitive (consisting of six levels): Skills that revolve around knowledge, comprehension and critical thinking on a particular subject.

Affective (consisting of five levels): It describes the skills to which people react emotionally and involves learning that happens at the behavioural level.

Psychomotor (consisting of six levels): The Psychomotor domain deals with application of learning. Its objectives usually focus on  long term change or development in behaviour and skills.

While the cognitive and affective domains were completed and published in the 1950s, psychomotor was never published. Bloom’s Taxonomy has stood the test of time and is still one of the most popular framework to classify the learning behaviours. However with the inclusion of technology in learning as well as its proliferation amongst diverse and multi generation learners, the need was felt for a more relevant and suitable model.Thus came the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Anderson, a student of Bloom and Krathwohl’s (2001) revision of the original Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom & Krathwohl, 1956) has redefined the cognitive domain as the intersection of the Cognitive Process Dimension and the Knowledge Dimension.

Application in E-Learning

Having understood the fundamentals about Bloom’s Taxonomy and Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy,  let us now see its application in e-learning.

Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used to define the e-learning objectives and the associated behaviour of the learner which can be influenced to meet these objectives.

Let us start with the six level of  cognitive domain.

Knowledge: This is probably one of the easiest to implement in the e-learning environment. Through an e-learning course it is easy to provide knowledge, which may consist of facts, terms, basic concepts or answers to the question.Through self learning, a learner will just acquiring the knowledge imparted through e-learning.

Comprehension: Comprehension is about understanding something. The idea is to ensure that the learners have taken in the information provided in the e-learning course and are able to understand it . This level should be applied in learning advanced concepts, techniques or analytical skills

Application: In this step, the learner interacts with the e-learning course through practical exercises, role-playing games, simulations, branched scenarios etc. to apply the acquired knowledge. At this stage instructional designers must focus on creating  real life like situations, which learners are familiar with and they can resolve the problem by using the acquired facts, knowledge, rules and techniques.

Analysis: At this step, learners start developing a strong understanding of the subject matter. At this stage instructional designers must test the learners on their abilities to analyse the situations to gather relevant  information, that helps in decision making at a later stage.

A good start point can be informal online discussion forums, where learners are able to interact with each other.

Evaluation: At this stage, the learner has gained enough expertise to make recommendations based on their analysis. Evaluation step in e-learning does more than simply train the learners. Learners who reach this stage can become the catalyst for real cultural change and mentor the newest members.

Creation: This is the final step outlined by Bloom’s Taxonomy. In this step, learners need to put together wholly original work based on the concepts that they have learned. It is the highest level of thinking behaviour where learners create their own work and demonstrate whether they have mastered the subject at hand.

As an instructional designer to add definite value to your e-learning course and see the real benefits, it is a must that you follow the cognitive domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I am sure you will use these principles to design your next e-learning course.

Happy e-learning!

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