More so…should you care?

It depends a lot on who you are, and when you came of “instructional” age. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter. As a user of theories and models, as long as you use them the right way – both yield the same results. But it’s best to stick to one, or you’d be over-taxing your brain.

If you have no idea what these two terms mean, it would imply that you are still an ID greenhorn, which is cool because you can pick and choose.

So what are these taxonomies and why this hullabaloo?

Honestly, I think it’s because we aren’t focusing right. We must be focused on ensuring that whatever we create for our learners stays effective. Period. And of course, I believe in the need to Learn, Unlearn, Relearn in order to make learning effective for our learners. In this case, however, Bloom’s Taxonomy (the un-revised original one) works absolutely fine for me.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy – The Differences

The original taxonomy given by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, (in his book, The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals) presents the phenomenon of cognitive learning as a six-level hierarchy, in which each consecutive level requires some extra processing by the mind. These levels are labeled in the form of uncountable nouns – Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy or the RBT, was given by David Krathwohl, in 2001. Dr. Bloom had passed away in 1999, but Krathwohl had worked with Benjamin Bloom extensively earlier (in defining the learning domains, suggesting the learning taxonomies for each and so on.) The revised taxonomy simplifies the nouns of Bloom’s Taxonomy into verbs  and goes – Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create. Additionally, it also swaps the last two levels.

The following image presents the oft-repeated differences.

Bloom's Taxonomy vs. Revised Bloom's Taxonomy - The Debate - Which is better and why?

My Preference is Bloom’s Taxonomy. (Why fix what isn’t broken?)

I prefer working with Bloom’s Taxonomy. Though I was using almost similar verbs to explain Bloom’s Taxonomy’s various levels even before RBT kicked up a storm, I am  not keen on the swap of level 5 and 6. I still prefer to use Bloom’s Taxonomy, because I don’t see any good reason to move. Having effectively designed, developed, and implemented online courses and classroom trainings using BT – I see no good reason to embrace its new avatar.

I don’t believe in fixing what isn’t broken. BT isn’t broken. It works flawlessly, and in fact, by putting Evaluation of the competency to Judge at level 6, I think it helps us stay on ground while we try to reach the skies of learning effectiveness.

I believe Evaluation should be the final level.

My test to check the appropriateness of Evaluate as the final level is simple.

Do all creators have the ability to judge works done by others?

I am a creator – a writer and an artist, and I can confirm this to you that being an artist doesn’t mean that I have the skill or the ability to judge art – mine or that of others.

Note that they may be able to find issues with their own works or that of their peers, but “judgement” requires courage, which comes only from experience. I could go into the details of this, but for now, I want to get back to creating another training program, using the good old Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Does this mean, I have an issue with the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy?

No. Does it matter whether your cat is black or white, as long as it catches the mice?!

The RBT uses verbs and simplifies some stuff…and that’s all good. But the swap doesn’t work for me, because in spirit, it brings Evaluation down to the level of Analysis. I think that instead of calling it a revision of BT, it should be called “Bloom’s Taxonomy Simplified.” I’d be at peace with that.

Oh, so does it mean that I am not keen on Dr. David Krathwohl’s work?

Of course not. I have great respect for Krathwohl’s taxonomy for the Affective domain. I think he accomplished something great in putting together that taxonomy, and I use it often in handling the design of behavioral training programs (for instance, the Emotional Intelligence Workshops.)

Shafali R. Anand