Discovering Bloom’s Taxonomy

When I first started teaching at our local Community College I was asked to teach a summer course in ‘Test and Measurement’ to a class of 25 new teachers at our provincial teacher’s college.

It was supposed to be my first summer off, but I said yes (I really didn’t know what a summer off felt like anyway). I ended up teaching it again the next two summers, and it was a great way to learn about assessing student performance.

It was also the first time I really understood the adage I had heard all the way through studying to obtain my education degree, “The best way to learn is to teach”.

This was the first time I read about Benjamin Bloom, the educational psychologist who wrote about the classification of educational objectives back in 1956, as his name didn’t come up during my studies. (I will admit I may have slept through some of the classes and missed it, as I took my Bachelor of Education full-time while also working at a full-time job, so those times are kind of fuzzy.)

Some years later, when completing a masters in education focusing on curriculum, his name creeped in again, along with Robert Gagne, John Keller, and a host of others.  We really didn’t pay much attention to them individually, as we were taught to create our own viewpoints integrating the thoughts of a number of educational theorists.

Rediscovering Bloom’s Taxonomy

Fast forward 20 or so years later to when I start working for a local eLearning company after retiring from the Community College. I’m now managing production of the Instructor Led Training Courses and helping the eLearning team when they need it. (That’s what happens when you’re the old guy who they think knows more than he actually does!)

One day an account manager came to me to ask if I’d ever heard of Bloom. Reluctantly, not knowing where this would lead, I said yes.

He then asked to me speak on the phone with one of our larger clients who had an epiphany and wanted all their course assessments put into Bloom’s Taxonomy.

I’m not sure where they found out about Bloom, but they also wanted me to explain what the Bloom’s Taxonomy was all about. I told them that essentially, he provided a way to assess a student’s ability to meet educational objectives with skills levels from lower order to higher order where each level was dependent on first achieving the skills from the level below it.

We continued to talk back and forth about Bloom and the results of that conversation is the white paper, ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Digital Age’. I found that when I shared these concepts with clients they were very excited and it lead to some great discussions. That is why I decided to share this paper in case the information contained in it can be useful to others who are creating eLearning assessments.

You can read the paper here.