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Bloom's Taxonomy


"A learning objective describes how the learner will demonstrate what they have learned once they have successfully completed a lesson. More specifically, it has a measurable or verifiable verb that states what the learner will do and specifies the criteria for acceptable performance." Greg Wilson in Teaching Tech Together

As you become a proactive programmer, it is important for you to know how the projects on this site were designed in terms of the learning type that they support and the complexity of the tasks they ask you to complete.1 While you may be thinking that this is only a topic for teachers, it turns out that knowing the basics of this taxonomy is also helpful for learners! For instance, this site features assignments and learning objectives that are connected to specific levels in this taxonomy.

Don't forget that these levels are organized from those that have the least amount of cognitive complexity to those that have the most. Ready to see examples of programming projects and how they connect to Bloom's taxonomy? Using direct quotes from Greg Wilson's book called Teaching Tech Together, let's describe the taxonomy's "levels" and "verbs" and give task examples.2 It's worth noting that many of the examples in this list will require the design and implementation of a program, which is normally the domain of the creating level. Since the study of proactive programming often requires the creation of source code, this task is supported with instructor-provided programs at less difficult levels and done by the learner when more cognitive challenge is appropriate.

  • Remembering: "Exhibit memory of previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers."

    • Keywords: recognize, list, describe, name, find.
    • Example: Run a program that performs a numerical calculation, find the iteration construct used in the program, observe its output when run in the terminal window, and use a text editor to describe both the output and why the program produces it.
  • Understanding: "Demonstrate understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas."

    • Keywords: interpret, summarize, paraphrase, classify, explain.
    • Example: After running a program that performs the conversion of temperature values, organize it into separate functions with descriptive documentation and explain how the functions work together to produce the output observed when it is run.
  • Applying: "Solve new problems by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques, and rules in a different way."

    • Keywords: build, identify, use, plan, select.
    • Example: Leveraging previously acquired knowledge about file input and parsing, select from existing functions to implement a program that iteratively searches a contact database for details about the individuals in someone's professional network.
  • Analyzing: "Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes; make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations."

    • Keywords: compare, contrast, simplify.
    • Example: After implementing a program that features multiple ways to sort a list input from a file, compare and contrast the efficiency and implementation effort associated with each approach, attempting to understand the trade-offs evident in each one.
  • Evaluating: "Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas, or quality of work based on a set of criteria."

    • Keywords: check, choose, critique, prove, rate.
    • Example: After defining the assessment criteria for a program's design, implementation, and user interface, create and evaluate a software tool that computes and visualizes the numbers in the Collatz sequence.
  • Creating: "Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions."

    • Keywords: design, construct, improve, adapt, maximize, solve.
    • Example: After collecting information about the efficiency of different ways to uniqify a list, engineer a benchmarking framework that can run experiments to evaluate each approach. As the use of these benchmarks aids the identification of the best method, adapt each uniqifier so that it offers the best possible efficiency for a variety of inputs.

Okay, let's explore how the types of assignments that you will complete are connected to these levels of learning in Bloom's taxonomy!

  1. See Robert Talbert's article Re-thinking Bloom's Taxonomy for Flipped Learning Design for a description of Bloom's taxonomy and how it aids the design of courses. In the context of programming, what level of the taxonomy is most exciting for you? 

  2. Check out Greg Wilson's book called Teaching Tech Together for lots of great ideas on how to teach programming to different types of learners. How could ideas from this book could be further applied to improve this learning platform? 

Updated: 2021-08-13   Created: 2021-08-12
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