Is Bloom’s Taxonomy still relevant today?
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Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification system that describes the various levels of cognitive learning objectives. It was first introduced in the 1950s by Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist. The taxonomy has been widely used in education as a guide for developing and assessing learners’ learning outcomes. However, the question arises
whether Bloom’s Taxonomy is still relevant in education today, given the changes in technology and the educational landscape. Educators should be aware of the six levels of the taxonomy representing increasing cognitive complexity in completing any activity.
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The taxonomy divides learning objectives into six levels, ranging from the simplest level of cognitive complexity ‘Knowledge’ to the highest level of ‘Evaluation’. Teachers can use the taxonomy to develop lesson plans and assessments that target specific levels of cognitive learning expected of the learner. There is no reason for learners of any age to be working across all six levels albeit on simpler tasks for younger learners.
Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a common language for educators to discuss learning objectives. Teachers from different disciplines and backgrounds can use the taxonomy to communicate about learning goals and objectives, making it easier to collaborate and coordinate efforts across subjects and grade levels. Teaching across different institutions can be compared
However, some argue that Bloom’s Taxonomy is too rigid and does not account for the complexity of what really happens with learning. In addition, the goals of education have shifted towards developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity skills. Some argue that Bloom’s Taxonomy is not equipped to handle these new goals and does not provide a comprehensive picture of what it means to learn in the 21st century. With the advent of technology, learners have access to a vast array of information and resources that were not available in the past, so how much should they be expected to know? One refrain often heard in schools from learners is ‘why do I need to know this, when I can Google it’. Why indeed.
Despite these criticisms, it is important to note that Bloom’s Taxonomy is still widely used in education today. Many educators find it to be a useful tool for designing and assessing learning outcomes, and it provides that common language. However, it is also important to recognize the limitations of the taxonomy and to be aware of other attempts at categorising learning. Other taxonomies include
• SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome)
• Webb’s Depth of Knowledge
• Marzano’s New Taxonomy
Despite these others, Bloom’s Taxonomy has endured, is widely known and used extensively. It is like the Euro, a common currency across multiple countries that makes it easier to compare the costs of goods and services. Bloom’s taxonomy makes it easier to standardise educational achieve across institutions, age and ability of learners.
So, Bloom’s Taxonomy is still very relevant in education today and is helpful for teachers to create appropriate learning activities. However, educators should recognise that real learning is more complex than the six levels and they should be open to new models and frameworks that consider for instance, the impact of technology on learning.