Today more than ever students need skills that will help them solve problems and think critically both in and out of the classroom. Thinking critically not only strengthens the brain, but also helps students connect what they have learned in the past to what they are learning today. These connections can help students address higher order thinking problems and also motivate them to engage meaningfully with course content.
To help your students achieve higher order thinking skills, refer to Bloom’s Revised and/or Digital taxonomies when you design objectives, assignments, and assessments. These taxonomies contain meaningful verbs that “often signal the level of complexity that we are asking of our students” (Berkeley University, n.d.¶1).
The original Bloom’s taxonomy is still widely used as an educational planning tool by all levels of educators today. In 2001 former students of Bloom published a new version of the taxonomy to fit educational practices of the 21st century better. At that time, the six categories (See Table 1) were changed from nouns to verbs because verbs describe actions and thinking is an active process. Both models are portrayed as hierarchical frameworks where each level is subsumed by the higher, more complex level. Students who function at one level have also mastered the level or levels below it. Using the revised taxonomy, for example, can help both you and your students see that those students who have reached the highest level “Creating” have also learned the material at each of the five preceding levels. Thus, students have achieved higher level thinking skills.
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, developed by Andrew Churches in 2007, can help you plan for meaningful use of “Web 2.0 technologies, infowhelm (the exponential growth of information), increasing ubiquitous personal technologies, or cloud computing” in today’s digitally-enhanced classrooms (Educational Origami, 2013, ¶2).
1956 Levels of Thinking
|Revised and Digital Taxonomies 2001/2007 Levels of Thinking|
Why Use Bloom’s Revised and Digital Taxonomies?
First, Bloom’s Revised and Digital Taxonomies can be useful for course design because the different levels can help you move students through the process of learning—from the most fundamental remembering and understanding to the more complex evaluating and creating (Forehand, 2010).
Second, the taxonomies can be helpful as you develop assessments by matching course learning objectives at any given level of mastery. For example, when teaching lower division, introductory courses, you might measure mastery of objectives at the lower levels and when teaching more advanced, upper division courses you would most likely be assessing students’ abilities at the higher levels of the taxonomy.
A third and timely reason to use Bloom’s revised and digital taxonomies focuses on student learning outcomes. Trends in higher education today include not only passive classroom activities (lectures), but also active learning strategies that engage students to become self-directed learners. Using concrete action words (verbs) such as creating, hypothesizing, validating, sharing, and identifying not only excite students to become intrinsically engaged in their own learning, but “can be used to operationally define direct measures that might be useful in an assessment plan” (University of West Florida, 2013, ¶5). The more we understand about student engagement, the better we can plan instruction that will motivate students to take control of their own learning, have an intrinsic desire to learn, and enjoy being in the classroom.
Verbs and Products/Outcomes
Instructional objectives, activities, and course outcomes are more effective if they include specific verbs which can tell students what they are expected to do. Review the Instructional Guide article on Bloom’s Taxonomy to learn more about how verbs align with each level of thinking and how they can be tied to activities, products and/or outcomes specific to the objective.
Bloom’s Revised and Digital Taxonomies are teaching tools that can be used to plan and implement relevant and meaningful instruction. Use these taxonomies to plan new or revise existing curricula, test relevance of course goals and objectives, design instruction (including assignments and activities), develop authentic assessments, and engage students in and out of the classroom.
Berkeley University’s Center for Teaching and Learning (n.d.). Bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved from http://teaching.berkeley.edu/blooms-taxonomy
Churches, A. (2007). Bloom’s digital taxonomy. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/techlearning/archives/2008/04/andrewchurches.pdf
Forehand, M. (2010). Bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Bloom%27s_Taxonomy
University of West Florida’s Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (2013). Assessment of student learning: Introduction to Bloom’s taxonomy. Retrieved from http://uwf.edu/cutla/assessstudent.cfm