One of the basic principles underlying the development of any learning content is to pre-determine the intent of that content. In eLearning, framing learning objectives before building the detailed course content is a vital step. Doing so provides course developers the opportunity to frame relevant and highly targeted content around specific learning outcomes they wish to accomplish through the course. Bloom’s Taxonomy offers course developers excellent tools to write effective learning objectives.
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy Effectively
Using Bloom’s Taxonomy entails defining learning goals with the help of three underlying “domains” of accomplishment including:
- knowledge domain,
- skills domain, and
- affective domain.
Each of these “domains” has a taxonomy associated with it. Course designers must use a particular taxonomy to measure a given student outcome, based on the goal that the course seeks to accomplish.
Let’s review the effective use of the three taxonomies by applying them to a possible set of learning objectives related to a Home Firefighting course.
Framing Knowledge-Based Learning Objectives
According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, knowledge-based goals measure Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Therefore, framing a course goal such as the following will embed all of the above principles:
Learning Objective # 1 – After completing this lesson, learners should be able to identify proper kitchen-fire control.
The goal of knowledge-based objectives is to test the students’ understanding of principles, concepts and facts related to a particular fire situation.
Framing Skills-Based Learning Objectives
Bloom’s Taxonomy for skills-based learning objectives revolves around Perception, Set, Guided Response, Mechanism, Complex Overt Response, Adaptation, and Organization. An effective learning goal that demonstrates all of these qualities may be as follows:
Learning Objective # 2 – After completing this lesson, learners should be able to use fire extinguishers and home fire-fighting cart effectively.
This objective is a skills-based learning outcome because it requires students to practically demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the evaluator, the skillfulness and ability of how to use appropriate equipment/techniques effectively.
Framing Affective Learning Objectives
Bloom’s Taxonomy for writing affective learning objectives requires that goals are measured on Receiving, Responding, Valuing, Organization, and Characterization. These elements try to measure how students’ interests, attitudes, and values are affected as a result of specific learning goals.
The following learning objective may be a good example of an Affective goal:
Learning Objective # 3 – After completing this lesson, learners should be able to demonstrate enthusiasm through volunteer fire-fighting activities and participation in community fire prevention events.
This learning objective seeks to determine how strong the course content was in affecting change in the students’ values and perceptions of the subject matter.
Bloom’s Taxonomy in Practice
While Bloom’s Taxonomy provides essential guidelines for eLearning developers, the approach should not be followed in a “linear” fashion. Instead, use it as an iterative process to initially define and then, repeatedly refine learning objectives.
Once learning objectives have been finalized, Bloom’s Taxonomy may be used as a useful tool to determine the most appropriate assessment techniques to measure each of the goals.