Bloom's Taxonomy

This page explores a hierarchy of cognitive learning needs and its implication in terms of types of business learning and simulation.

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Often it seems to me that learning is seen as being concerned with just gaining knowledge. However, gaining knowledge is only the first step in a hierarchy of learning levels as articulated by Bloom [1] and modified more recently by Anderson and Krathwhol [2]. As shown in the table below, Bloom's Taxonomy shows how different learning needs are addressed by the different levels. I feel that this hierarchy is particularly important when choosing which learning method or medium to use.

Level Explanation Example [3] Simulation
Knowledge Recall or recognise information Identify the four components of the Marketing Mix. Reinforce Prior Learning.
Comprehension Understand meaning Explain the meaning of each component of the Marketing Mix. Review current learning.
Application Use or apply knowledge Determine the break-even point in units Determine what learning is appropriate.
Analysis Interpret knowledge Identify a marketing problem. Use learning to find needs.
Synthesis Develop new structures Suggest alternative solutions to solve the identified (marketing) problem. Use learning to find possible solutions.
Evaluation Assess concepts Recommend the best solution to the (marketing) problem. Make decisions and implement solution.

Rick Whiteley [3] differentiates between lower-ordered learning (knowledge, comprehension and application) and higher-ordered learning (analysis, synthesis and evaluation). And suggests that "higher-order learning is much more difficult to achieve than lower-ordered learning, since higher-ordered learning reflects critical thinking". He goes on to argue that "because of this the role of the teacher, or learning facilitator, is more important".

I suggest that although simulation reinforces and refreshes lower-ordered learning, it's strength is in delivering higher-ordered learning. Further, this reinforced by providing Tutor Managed Learning and also through Team Learning

Finally, beyond using simulation, it is important to consider what parts of Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain will be required and based on this decide which instructional method or medium is best.

Learning Need

Bloom's Level(s)

Instructional Method or Medium

[1] 'Taxonomy Of Educational Objectives: Handbook 1, The Cognitive Domain' (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, Krathwohl, 1956)

[2] A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Anderson, Krathwohl et al. 2001

[3] Whiteley, T. Rick, Using the Socratic Method and Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain to enhance Online Discussion, Critical Thinking and Student Learning Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning Volume 33, 2006


2006 Jeremy J. S. B. Hall

Most recent update: 11/04/12
Hall Marketing, Studio 11, Colman's Wharf, 45 Morris Road, London E14 6PA, ENGLAND
Phone +44 (0)20 7537 2982 E-mail
jeremyhall@simulations.co.uk