# 10.1 Formulating learning objectives  (Page 5/6)

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## Bloom’s taxonomy:

In its original form, Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives referred to forms of cognition or thinking, which were divided into the six levels (Bloom, et al., 1956). Table 5 summarizes the levels, and offers two kinds of examples—simple ones based on the children’s story Goldilocks and the Three Bear s, and complex ones more typical of goals and objectives used in classrooms. The levels form a loose hierarchy from simple to complex thinking, at least when applied to some subjects and topics. When planning for these subjects it can therefore be helpful not only for insuring diversity among learning objectives, but also for sequencing materials. In learning about geography, for example, it may sometimes make sense to begin with information about specific places or societies (knowledge and comprehension), and work gradually toward comparisons and assessments among the places or societies (analysis and synthesis).

 Type or level of learning Simple example Classroom example Knowledge : recall of information, whether it is simple or complex in nature “Name three things that Goldilocks did in the house of the three bears.” “List all of the planets of the solar system.” “State five key features of life in the middle ages.” Comprehension : grasping the meaning of information, by interpreting it or translating it from one form to another “Explain why Goldilocks preferred the little bear’s chair.” “Convert the following arithmetic word problem to a mathematical equation.” “Describe how plants contribute to the welfare of animal life.” Application : using information in new, concrete situations “Predict some of the things Goldilocks might have used if she had entered your house.” “Illustrate how positive reinforcement might affect the behavior of a pet dog.” “Use examples from the plot to illustrate the theme of novel.” Analysis : breaking information into its components to understand its structure “Select the part of Goldilocks and the Three Bears where you think Goldilocks felt most comfortable.” “Compare the behavior of domestic dogs with the behavior of wolves.” “Diagram the effects of weather patterns on plant metabolism.” Synthesis : putting parts of information together into a coherent whole “Tell how the story would have been different if it had been three fishes.” “Design an experiment to test the effects of gravity on root growth.” “Write an account of how humans would be different if life had originated on Mars instead of Earth.” Evaluation : judging the value of information for a particular purpose “Justify this statement: Goldilocks was a bad girl.” “Appraise the relevance of the novel for modern life.” “Assess the value of information processing theory for planning instruction.”

Such a sequence does not work well, however, for all possible topics or subjects. To learn certain topics in mathematics, for example, students may sometimes need to start with general ideas (like “What does it mean to multiply?”) than with specific facts (like “How much is 4 x 6?”) (Egan, 2005). At other times, though, the reverse sequence may be preferable. Whatever the case, a taxonomy of cognitive objectives, like Bloom’s, can help to remind teachers to set a variety of objectives and to avoid relying excessively on just one level, such as simple recall of factual knowledge (Notar, et al., 2004).

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