Education is the process by which training or learning is provided to one or more persons with the purpose of developing, training and optimizing their cognitive, affective, social and moral capacities.

Education is an essential element when it comes to generating a common context and learning the different skills needed to adapt to the environment and be able to perform different functions, something that has concerned humanity since ancient times.

Although access to formal education has not been compulsory and accessible to all until relatively recently, different models or attempts have been made to assess what formal learning is intended to achieve or what its objectives are. One of these models is Bloom’s taxonomy , which we will talk about throughout this article.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: what is it?

Bloom’s taxonomy is a classification of different objectives to be achieved through formal education made by Benjamin Bloom based on the three aspects that different experts in education had reflected in 1948 when trying to establish a consensus regarding the objectives of education: cognition, affectivity and psychomotor skills.

This is a classification of objectives carried out in a hierarchical manner, organized on the basis of whether the activity requires more or less complex processing. The author based his classification on the contributions of behaviourism and cognitivism prevailing at the time.

This taxonomy has been used and valued in the world of education since its conception. In itself, although Bloom’s taxonomy starts from the consideration of the three main aspects and these are analysed and classified, tends to focus especially on the cognitive aspect , this taxonomy having been completed in 1956. With regard to the classification of objectives and the dimensions worked on in each of the aspects, the following can be found in the taxonomy

Cognitive taxonomy

Perhaps the aspect that has been most emphasized throughout the history of education, and on which Bloom’s taxonomy is also particularly focused, is in the cognitive sphere.

In it, the aim is to strengthen the student’s competence in the achievement or attainment of certain cognitive capacities or objectives (specifically six) based on different intellectual, affective and psychomotor capacities. Although within each of them different actions and aspects to work on can be found, as a summary we can consider that the main objectives of education according to Bloom’s taxonomy are the following.

1. Knowledge

Although the concept of knowledge may seem very broad, in this taxonomy it is indicated as such to the ability to remember what was previously acquired in a more or less approximate way. This is considered the most basic of the abilities that the student must acquire and the one that requires the least amount of processing.

2. Understanding

Acquiring and maintaining the recordings does not require a great deal of processing, but it is not useful, per se, to be able to adapt to the medium. We need to understand what we have learned. Thus, a second objective is to be able to transform the information as it comes to us into something we can understand and interpret.

3. Application

A more complex step is the application. At this point the subject must not only grasp and understand what is being said but also be able to use it. It is not the same to know and understand what a multiplication is as to do it in a practical way and when it is needed.

4. Analysis

The analysis of the information implies being able to abstract the knowledge obtained in the previous moments, requiring the ability to fragment the reality of what has been learned in order to distinguish what configures it and allow its application in different fields.

You can come to elaborate hypotheses and contrast them based on the information provided . Continuing with the multiplication of the previous example, it would be possible to understand that we can do a multiplication in a given problem and why it is correct. It requires a high level of processing.

5. Synthesis

Synthesizing means elaborating a model in a summarized way, combining the information received to create something different from what was learned (in fact, in later revisions, synthesis is changed by creation). It is one of the most complex cognitive objectives, since implies not only working with the learned information but also incorporating other elements that serve us to obtain its base and apply it to create.

6. Evaluation

This element mainly involves being able to make judgements based on a criterion or informed opinion. It may even imply the non-acceptance of what is being taught , requiring a very advanced level of mental elaboration.

Reviewing this educational proposal

Although Bloom’s taxonomy has been a reference in the world of education since its conception, this does not imply that different authors have not made any modifications in this respect. Specifically, the one published in 2001 by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl, who were students of the original author, stands out.

This change proposed that verbs should be used instead of nouns to assess each of the key categories or objectives, thus making it easier to understand that the objective is the fact of doing a certain action and not the result itself. It is emphasized that we are before an event that requires an active attitude and makes the student the protagonist of his own learning process .

The sequencing of categories was also modified, moving on to consider the fact of evaluating a higher order thought but below the creation process (in the original model the evaluation was considered to be more superior to the synthesis/creation).

Likewise, the model has been subsequently extended to include different aspects linked to the use of new information technologies and communication, being assimilated to other models.

Bibliographic references

Bloom, B.S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals: Handbook I, cognitive domain. New York ; Toronto: Longmans, Green.