How Bloom’s Taxonomy Can Guide Your Team’s Learning Goals

How do educators — from teachers in a classroom setting to learning and development professionals in the workplace — set out to develop their methods and objectives for their learning initiatives? What criteria are most important when evaluating the overall success of a program?

Educators and L&D professionals have long applied the principles of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a framework of learning goals created by University of Chicago educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom in 1956. The six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy explore and explain the process of learning in a hierarchical way, meaning that the learner must comprehend the lower stages in order to build a foundation of understanding to grasp and eventually master the higher levels.

 

Bloom's Taxonomy

Graphic courtesy University of Arkansas

Exploring the Levels of Learning

Let’s take a look at each layer of Bloom’s Taxonomy and the keywords that support each level:

Remember: Retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from long‐term memory.

list, recite, outline, define, name, match, quote, recall, identify, label, recognize

 

Understand: Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.

describe, explain, paraphrase, restate, give original examples of, summarize, contrast, interpret, discuss

 

Apply: Carrying out or using a procedure for executing or implementing.

calculate, predict, apply, solve, illustrate, use, demonstrate, determine, model, perform, present

 

Analyze: Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing.

classify, break down, categorize, analyze, diagram, illustrate, criticize, simplify, associate

 

Evaluate: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.

choose, support, relate, determine, defend, judge, grade, compare, contrast, argue, justify, support, convince, select, evaluate

 

Create: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing.

design, formulate, build, invent, create, compose, generate, derive, modify, develop

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a powerful tool specifically because it organizes the learning process in advancing steps:

  • Before you can understand a concept, you must remember it.
  • To apply a concept you must first understand it.
  • In order to evaluate a process, you must have analyzed it.
  • To create an accurate conclusion, you must have completed a thorough evaluation.

When thinking of learning in these iterative, intentional phases, educators and learning professionals can better strategize their training materials and performance metrics as well as establish clear-cut objectives for the learner. Sounds like a definite win-win.

How VR Unlocks Bloom’s Higher Levels of Learning

The upper echelons of Bloom’s Taxonomy — analyzing, evaluating, and creating — are often the skills that are baseline requirements in professions today, though so much of our professional training is devoted to the lower levels. So-called soft skills (or power skills) such as critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership are considered essential in today’s workplace, but what is the best method for learning them and retaining that knowledge in the long term?

Here’s where immersive technology offers boundless possibilities. The advanced sophistication and increased availability of xR technologies — virtual reality (VR), where the learner is immersed in a new digital environment, and augmented reality (AR), in which the participant is placed in a combined real and virtual world where information is digitally shared — are transforming the ways in which we learn and even experience the world.

Virtual reality simulations accelerate this type of progressive learning by requiring learners to actively demonstrate mastery, a fact that translates into real engagement for learners and dollars and cents for L&D considering actual mastery in many corporate cases is not a nice-to-have but a must-have skill (think risk avoidance and compliance). For soft skills, hyper-real simulations allow training to achieve the elusive and productive balance of safety and danger. The training is safe enough that the learner can make mistakes and learn from them, and risky enough to recreate the stress of the encounter, so the learner becomes inoculated for it.

Mursion’s live “human-in-the-loop” virtual reality simulations blend the best of both worlds — the empathy and intelligence of people with the scalability and flexibility of technology. Our hyper-real environments and interactions simultaneously produce the feel of safety (the brain recognizes the security of being in the simulation) and danger (practicing reactions to high-stakes situations in true-to-life surroundings, requiring authenticity and presence).

As technology becomes more commonplace in training settings — not only in classrooms but in modern workplaces where skill sets are in constant flux — virtual reality simulations can assist learners of all ages and abilities to deepen their skills, saving time, money and stress levels in the process.