05 June 2009

Blooming in Teaching and Learning

It is important to align appropriate teaching activities with learning outcomes, and students need to know at what level of cognitive engagement they are expected to demonstrate. If only facts are presented in lectures, but students are expected to provide an analysis in their assignment but are never taught how, this may not be effective in assessing student's capabilities. Bloom's Taxonomy provides a common language to coordinate what is taught and what is being assessed. The six different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy are: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. These are further revised with a set of verb counterparts: remember, understand, apply, analyze, create, and evaluate. Here are three ways of using "Blooming" to enhance learning:
  1. Instructor assigns Bloom level to grading rubric, and provide additional learning activities to improve the levels where students have low scores.
  2. Introduce Bloom levels to students and students are asked to "bloom" questions asked in class (i.e. rank the questions according to Bloom's levels). This helps students to develop meta-cognitive skills and reflection on their learning. Students are also shown the class average at each Bloom level after a test, and evaluate their score at each level.
  3. Students are taught the Bloom levels and write questions at each level in small groups. The groups exchange the questions and rank them to see if they correspond to the levels intended.
Most of computer science education will likely require higher level in Bloom's taxonomy. However, students may operate at lower level in learning the material. Recognition of this discrepancy and the use of specific activities in achieving higher Bloom's level may help students to become better computer scientists. Instructors will also benefit in articulating at which level they expect their students to demonstrate by comparing what is stated in the course outline and what is being taught and tested.


Crowe, A., Dirks, C., Wenderoth, M., Biology in Bloom: Implementing Bloom's Taxonomy to Enhance Student Learning in Biology, CBE - Life Sciences Education, Vol. 7, 368-381, 2009

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