Benjamin Bloom (1913-1999) was an educational psychologist who was interested in improving student learning. In the late 1940s, Bloom and other educators worked on a way to classify educational goals and objectives, which resulted in three learning categories or "domains" and the taxonomy of categories of thinking:
Each of the three domains requires learners to use different sets of mental processing to achieve stated outcomes within a learning situation. Thus, instructional goals and objectives should be designed to support the different ways learners process information in these domains.
Each of the three domains requires learners to use different sets of mental processing to achieve stated outcomes
The "original" Bloom's taxonomy is still widely used as an educational planning tool by all levels of educators. In 2001, a former student of Bloom published a new version the taxonomy to better fit educational practices of the 21st century. At that time, the six categories were changed to use verbs instead of nouns 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(s) below it. Using the revised taxonomy, for example, a student who has reached the highest level, "Creating," has also learned the material at each of the five lower levels. Thus, a student has achieved a high level of thinking skill.
Bloom’s Taxonomy can be useful for course design because the 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).
The taxonomy can assist you as you develop assessments by helping you match course learning objectives to any given level of mastery. 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 likely be assessing students’ abilities at the higher levels of the taxonomy.
Instructional objectives are more effective if they include specific verbs that can tell students what they are expected to do. The verbs listed in the table below are linked with each level of thinking.
To develop effective and meaningful instruction further, design activities and assessments that challenge students to move from the most basic skills (remembering) to more complex learning which leads to higher order thinking (creating).
The table below demonstrates the connections between the levels of thinking, verbs you might use in a learning objective, sample questions or prompts to generate thinking at that level, and
|Level of Thinking
(Highest to Lowest)
|Sample Question / Statement Stems
|Activities, Products, Outcomes
Making Something New
Making Judgments Based on Criteria
Distinguishing Different Parts of a Whole
Using Information in New Situations
Explaining Information and Concepts
Recalling or Recognizing Information
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy is one of many tools that faculty can use to create effective and meaningful instruction. Use it to plan new or revise existing curricula; test the relevance of course goals and objectives; design instruction, assignments, and activities; and develop authentic assessments.
Argiro, M., Forehand, M., Osteen, J., & Taylor, W. (2005). Bloom’s bakery: An illustration of Bloom’s taxonomy. https://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Bloom%27s_Taxonomy
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Forehand, M. (2010). Bloom’s taxonomy. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology (pp. 41-47). Retrieved from https://textbookequity.org/Textbooks/Orey_Emergin_Perspectives_Learning.pdf
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Northern Illinois University Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. (2020). Bloom's taxonomy. In Instructional guide for university faculty and teaching assistants. Retrieved from https://www.niu.edu/citl/resources/guides/instructional-guide