More Reading – Bloom’s Taxonomy

Chapman, Alan – bloom’s taxonomy – learning domains

http://www.businessballs.com/bloomstaxonomyoflearningdomains.htm (‘Benjamin Bloom’s and others original concepts as stated in material; Alan Chapman contextual material, review, code, design 2006-2009‘)

The key points to take from this reading are that the ‘taxonomy’ is a classification of learning types.  Near the start of the article, its author explains the classification of learning into three types:- Cognitive, Emotive, and Psychomotor, ie intellectual, feelings, and manual or physical skills:-

Bloom’s Taxonomy model is in three parts, or ‘overlapping domains’. Again, Bloom used rather academic language, but the meanings are simple to understand:

  1.  Cognitive domain (intellectual capability, ie., knowledge, or ‘think’)
  2. Affective domain (feelings, emotions and behaviour, ie., attitude, or ‘feel’)
  3. Psychomotor domain (manual and physical skills, ie., skills, or ‘do’)

We progress through different levels (capabilities) in each domain as we acquire any new learning.  A number of tables follow, along with expansion upon Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy, and some discussion of how his successors developed the theories.

Another, shorter piece of writing on the subject can be found in a document, ‘Writing Learning Objectives at UKCLE‘, which practically addresses which verbs, objects and conditions to use when framing learning objectives.

The key question is, how could I use this analysis in my role as teaching artist?  My initial reaction is that, in my forthcoming lesson on research and bibliographic skills, I almost need to engage the students’ affective domain before anything else.  It’s very difficult making bibliographic skills seem appealing!  By way of a parallel, I remember classes on Dewey Classification at library school.  It was such a tedious topic that our lecturer’s lilting Welsh accent was just about the highlight of each lesson.  We didn’t blame him, or consider him boring – it was just a very hard topic to get enthusiastic about.  And keeping accurate records for your bibliography is a similarly dry subject.

Therefore, If I can get research students to recognise that they need to acquire these skills, then I hope they’ll be more willing to engage with the subject.  So, as I see it, the emotive or affective element is recognising the need to learn.

The cognitive learning element is understanding HOW to keep an accurate bibliography and redeploy it into subsequent writings.

The author of the article admits that Bloom spent less time on the psychomotor learning.  In truth, how do you separate out learning how to create a bibliographic reference, into its cognitive and psychomotor components?  Keeping your grasp on a mountain of paperwork and physically filing it away logically does have a psychomotor element, I suppose, but I’m more concerned with digital applications than with filing papers!

At the moment my lesson plan is in my head.  I may well have an opening powerpoint image of a pile of books and papers, messed up and apparently in no order (plenty of examples upstairs in my house!), so that I can make the point that there’s a fine line between ‘organised chaos’ (a euphemism if ever there was one), and total confusion. I am  hoping to begin the session by encouraging the research students to discuss their own record-keeping and note-taking practices, so I can find out what they already know, and get them to share ‘best practice’ before I wade in with a bunch of good suggestions of my own.

I am intending to email them – and maybe use our Whittaker Live blog and Twitter, before the session with the dual purpose of reminding them to turn up, and getting them to start thinking about the topic before they arrive.

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