Published in 1956, Bloom’s Taxonomy divides learning objectives into six levels. Even today, this model is used by trainers, instructional designers, and training managers (L&D) to plan training programs and evaluate them in terms of learning objectives. To begin this 3-part series, we’re going to look at the first two levels: knowledge and comprehension.
Educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom was a member of the board of examiners at the University of Chicago when he took an interest in the skills involved in the learning process. His research in partnership with other American academics, identified and classified 6 mental operations that learners employed one after the other in training programs: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. In 1956, their hierarchical models spawned Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Bloom’s taxonomy: what are the training challenges?
The first level in Bloom’s Taxonomy is knowledge, which involves recognizing facts and remembering them to use at a later date. Knowledge includes citing sources, giving definitions, and naming or identifying facts, terms, or concepts. The second level is comprehension. This entails interpreting newly acquired information. Learners demonstrate their ability to translate, reformulate, and explain the ideas or concepts they’ve studied.
Knowledge & comprehension: under the microscope
If we apply Bloom’s Taxonomy to a specific example, we’ll see the balance we need to strike to meet our learning goals, for instance how to implement a new regulation, such as the GDPR or a new compliance.
Here are a few pointers that will help boost the outcome of any learning activity:
- Explain why it’s important to take training courses: Managers must explain the value of training to motivate staff members. They have to understand why the training session matters: “What is going to possibly happen if I don’t comply with this new regulation?”
- Use micro-learning: For this type of course, short formats like videos are especially effective. Sharing information doesn’t have to be a long and intricate combination of different types of activities.
- Ensure knowledge transfer: Managers should put the necessary processes and methods in place to ensure that learners are acquiring the correct knowledge.
- Collect and use the data provided by your digital learning solution: Harvesting and interpreting data may help you target a specific audience, recommend content, or promote additional resources by using learner ratings or completion rates, for example.
Instructional designers and trainers regularly use Bloom’s Taxonomy to assess learning objectives and understand learning mechanisms. It’s also a practical tool for L&D teams and companies, helping them to assess learner skill levels, define training aims, and plan training courses over time. Based on this analysis, our tools can help you make your training programs more effective. How? By creating an engaging user experience for learners, offering interactive assessments to support learning, providing a space for in-house experts to talk to team members, and using learner marketing methods to monitor trainee’s progress.
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