Bloom’s taxonomy scheme twice revised

blooms taxonomy inverted

On the left it is the original Bloom scheme, in the middle one can see its revised version in 2001 and on the right is an interpretative image of the revised version according to the articles mentioned here. As I always prefer verbs to nouns myslef,  the revised version is much juicier than the original one. 

Bloom’s taxonomy was introduced in 1956 and later revised in 2001 by a group of cognitive psychologists, curriculum theorists and instructional researchers.  Two history teachers Wineburg  and Schneider in their article entitled ‘Was Bloom’s Taxonomy pointed in the Wrong Direction?’ challenged Bloom’s taxonomy. They conducted an experiment that compared the reactions of a 17 year old AP (Advanced Placement) student and those of a group of history graduate students to an historical document. Despite the fact that the document was foreign to their interests the history graduate students did better analyzing what it was about than the AP student thus proving that knowledge was the result of a questioning process rather than the basis of their investigation. As the authors argue:

Those who go back and read Bloom will find much to praise. That knowledge is the foundation for all further acts of mind, for instance, is a fundamentally sound concept. But our concern is about Bloom in practice – the way that the Taxonomy takes on a life of its own (…) knowledge possessed does not automatically mean knowledge deployed.

Peter Burkholder, while debating the role of content in the design of his history course recalls Wineburg ‘s model ‘wherein students focus on analysis and interpretation and develop these thinking skills at the outset as a way to learn content instead of the other way around’. He performs yet another experiment by inserting quizing protocols in his class (to be later elaborated in group discussions) to engance peer communication and induce opportunities for students to learn the material. He goes on to state that:

The inherent challenge of content, especially the sheer potential volume of it to be covered in history survey courses, is daunting, but primarily because teachers often base their course design off of that content. This study suggests there is another way to envision the survey, one where learning goals of critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation start the course design process, and content is built in to serve those goals—“backward design,” as famously termed by two experts.

I’ll be back for this for the architectural implications of the revised taxonomies.


‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’, by Patricia Armstrong, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching, available here

‘Was Bloom’s Taxonomy pointed in the Wrong Direction?’ by Sam Wineburg and Jack Schneider, The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 91, N 4 (Dec., 2009 – Jan., 2010), pp. 56-61 available here

‘A Content Means to a Critical Thinking End: Group Quizzing in History Surveys’ by Peter Burkholder, pp. 551-578, The History Teacher, Volume 47, No 4, August 2014

Image on the left available here

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One thought on “Bloom’s taxonomy scheme twice revised

  1. Pingback: ADDIE [again], ASSURE, BDM | connecting data to information to knowldge

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