The IDEAL: Bloom’s Taxonomy for Cognitive Domain Learning

Icon of section IDEAL (Instructional Designer's Evolution through Analytical Learning)- Creative Agni ezine.

The Six Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies cognitive learning into six ascending levels.

  • Level 1: Knowledge
  • Level 2: Comprehension
  • Level 3: Application
  • Level 4: Analysis
  • Level 5: Synthesis
  • Level 6: Evaluation

As the levels move up, the mental processing required for achieving these levels of learning too increases.

Here’s a quick look at each of these levels.

Please note that the posts in the IDEAL section of this eZine attempt to address the instructional concepts at Knowledge/Comprehension levels (refer to BL1/BL2 above), so I am going to stop short of illustrating the use of Bloom’s taxonomy in content creation. However, a quick explanation of each of the six levels is in order, so here I go.

BL1 – Knowledge Level

This level is associated with pure recall of information. Whatever goes in, comes out – is the core principle that governs learning at this level.

BL2 – Comprehension Level

Comprehension level learning is characterized by a change in the form of information/knowledge. Thus, at this level the learner is able to (understand and hence,) explain his learning in his/her own words.

BL3 – Application Level

This is that level of learning at which the learner can use his/her learning to accomplish a given task. Note that at BL3, whatever is learned is applied to arrive at an expected/predefined outcome.

BL4 – Analysis Level

At this level, the learner goes beyond mere application, and acquires the capability to break an issue into its components and study the relationships between different the different components.

BL5 – Synthesis Level

At Synthesis level, the learner becomes capable of modifying the knowledge (for instance, a process) to arrive at a solution. Thus, all kinds of decision-making, creation, innovation, invention, etc. require Synthesis level learning.  (Do you see how Synthesis level is different from Application level?)

BL6 – Evaluation Level

At this level the learner acquires the ability to judge qualitatively. Thus, while a learner at BL5 acquires the capability of making a decision, at BL6 he becomes capable to evaluating the effectiveness of such decisions.

Reflection Activity:

Dig out any old course/training that you had either designed, conducted, or participated in. Review the Bloom’s Levels of its Training Goal and Objectives, and then review the design of the training.

  1. Did the training help the learners reach the promised Bloom’s level (of the Training Goal)? If not, why?
  2. Where did the problem lie?  Did it lie in writing the objectives or in the design of the training program?

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