December 22, 2020 |

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification system used to define and distinguish different the levels of human cognition i.e., thinking, learning, and understanding. It was developed in 1956 (later modified in 2000) as a framework to use in both teaching and creating lessons and assignments and remains a useful tool to consult for anyone who needs to impart knowledge or teach a new skill.  The levels on a sliding scale are remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and finally creating.  While not all trainers, educators or instructional designers are aware of its existence as a formal concept, it is highly likely we use aspects of it unconsciously in creating our learning content.   I think it is also fair to say that depending on the length and depth of the knowledge we are seeking to impart, that not all levels will be moved through in a “lock step manner”. For example, teaching or developing a half day PowerPoint course you would be looking for remembering and understanding, definitely applying and if time allowed creating.  Just as an aside, it is good to remember that all course planning is done “backward”, starting with the development of required learning objectives which are hopefully measurable, realistic and achievable and for this Bloom’s Taxonomy can provide a good touchpoint for consideration during the planning process of learning events.

Most commonly, those teaching adults are concerned with learning in the cognitive domain. This domain measures the development of knowledge and intellectual abilities (Bloom, as cited in McDonald, 2007). Common performance indicators for this domain include multiple choice exams, true false exams, fill in the blank etc. If the learning objective is for students to master a motor skill, (e.g., change a tire), you would design a performance indicator for the psychomotor domain by requiring a demonstration of the skill or performance of a simulation. If you wish to measure learning in the affective domain (also known as the emotional domain), Bloom’s Taxonomy indicators should seek to measure the development of interests, attitudes, and values: examples include essay exams, reflective journal entries, or creative writing assignments.

The levels are commonly shown in a pyramid format as shown below, with Creation being the pinnacle and overall goal:

Blooms Taxonomy Pyramid

Anderson, L.W. & Krathwohl, D.R. (2001). A taxonomy for teaching, learning, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York, NY: Longman.
Bloom, B.S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. New York, NY: Longmans, Green.

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November 16, 2020 |

Graphics in Learning Material (part 2)

The number one rule is that graphics should not distract the learners from your content. So, you should pay attention to the subject, colours, size, and placement of your images and while it might sound obvious, make sure you are using the appropriate images at the right time -there is no need to bombard your learners with images just to fill in space or make it look exciting. The images you use should link to the contact and are intended to reinforce and support your training material, so before using an image ask yourself whether it is relevant or indeed helpful to the learner in how they consume the material.  The famous advice of Coco Chanel in regard to what you wear of which goes along the lines of: “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off” is equally useful in when thinking of how you incorporate and use graphics.


Once your graphic has been chosen, the next step is to select an appropriate size and format. Among the most common file types that in are: jpg, .png, .bmp. tiff and .gif and you need to keep in mind the image’s file size as if it is too large it could impact the way your pages load.

If the course material will be online it is worth remembering that while high-resolution graphics looks nice and crisp, they can take a considerable amount of space. As well, high-resolution graphics may take a long time to load and that can cause annoyance and frustration for learners, so you risk alienating them to the actual course content. Probably the best approach is to start with a high-resolution graphic and then resize and squeeze it down as much as possible.  This doesn’t work as well with scaling small images up as the graphic may appear pixilated, so best to start with the bigger, better resolution and downsize it.

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