The Blooms Taxonomy (and Why its Great)
Learning new skills and abilities is of the utmost importance when progressing through life. It is within human nature to learn and by extension, innovate and progress.
What is Learning??
If you were to describe learning in >10 words what would you say?
Is it understanding how to do stuff?
Sitting and receiving a lecture?
What is it
The idea of blooms Taxonomy is basically to understand the depth and proficiency that any individual has learned and achieved. Its important to distinguish this as we don’t need to be experts on every subject and we don’t need the validation of some test to prove that you have learned something.
Take a moment to read the chart below and the criteria of each level.
The hierarchy and how its used in life
Think of any subject that you believe you are proficient at, something that is your passion, something you have dedicated and invested your precious time and resources into. Now if you compare this to the image above and chances are you match some of the higher levels criteria such as the ones for “create” and “evaluate.” Meanwhile think of something that you are working towards and you will see that it falls into the lower sections of the pyramid.
Now for most things remembering and understanding is enough, because being an expert at everything is a difficult and in many cases not impactful enough. In many cases being at the lowest stages is arguably the right place to be. That’s why the base of the pyramid is biggest (most things you understand and remember) while the highest level is the smallest (people can only create in a some specific areas of proficiency). Consider the following
If you are opening a can with this brand-new state of the art can-opener. After reading the instructions you get a pretty good idea of how to use it. Next time you don’t remember how it works and you find yourself reading the manual again!
The point being is that all parts of the Taxonomy are important for different circumstances and often judging people off their proficiency on an arbitrary subject is detrimental.
This means you are still at the “remembering” phase of the Taxonomy, but yet it would make no sense to invest all the time to create a new type of can opener just to prove you are an expert in the subject.
The implications in society
Now that it is clear how to quantify someone’s understanding, we must also look at the impacts it has on society
Most times someone says they hate school or they feel like what they are doing for eight hours a day is pointless it often a matter of the Bloom’s Taxonomy. In the status quo we see that school is doing in many cases the same thing Google does. It gives us a broad understanding of many topics usually at the “remember” or “understand” level. When people don’t like school its because its taking a round-about and engaging method to meet the simplest and lowest levels of the Taxonomy. This is also the level that quizzes and standardized tests examine and is also the reason why they are profoundly disliked by the majority of students.
Slowly there has been a reform in school looking at the “apply” and “analyze” stage with the use of collaboration, storytelling, presentations and more. Furthermore, a side affect of all of these are they bring a much more positive outlook on the schooling system and create more engagement and productivity.
TKS + Extra Curriculars
Programs like The Knowledge Society and other Extra Cur. like Science Fair and Debate have taken students desire to reach these higher levels of the hierarchy and then give them the medium, resources and support to achieve this. Most often the top of the Taxonomy is the place where the impact is made and the place where world leaders are made. Often you will see these programs have focuses to dive really deep into a certain topic and give the freedom and independence to fail and discover.
That is the difference between School and programs like TKS.
At the end of the day, learning is the key to impacting millions. It is the only way to change the world we are living in for the better. But understanding when, where and why (using tools like the Blooms Taxonomy) to learn a topic in depth is important as directing your resources to whats most beneficial cannot be done otherwise.
Originally published at my old Medium https://abhinav-m.medium.com on October 3, 2021.