Bloom’s Taxonomy: Why it matters with rich media

Posted on Jul 22, 2014

In the Introduction to Rich Media presentation, we saw how rich media fits into the activity design and development phase of building a course. Bloom’s Taxonomy was mentioned briefly as a guide for conceptualizing your activities.

Now let’s take a closer look at it.


Bloom’s Taxonomy was originally formulated by Benjamin Bloom in 1956 as a way to classify the characteristics of learning activities according to the level of thinking required. Orders of thinking range from straight recall at the lowest level, to creative invention at the highest level.

Since its inception, it has been adapted and revised by various educational researchers. An elaborated history is available here. One recent revision has been given the name “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy” (below) which has extended each level to include various “verbings” associated with each level of thinking in the taxonomy.

Blooms Digital Taxonomy


How Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy is Useful:

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy is useful to you in designing your instructional activities because you can refer to the verbings at each level to determine the thinking skills you desire from your instructional activity. Do you want your learners to Remember? Think of activities that involve the verbings at that level. Are your learners ready for an evaluative activity? See how the verbings at the Evaluation level can inform how you might design an activity.

For example, in a video that involves observation of human interaction you could write your prompts and discussion questions along various levels of thinking, depending upon what is most appropriate for your learners’ prior knowledge and the stage of your course.

Example #1 – Remembering:

[Prompt preceding the video] “Watch the following video demonstrating a classic example of a business related interaction between a manager and an employee. Look for the kinds of strategies each participant employs and how these strategies change over the course of the interaction. Take notes on what you observe, using your textbook as a reference for the main principles. Be prepared to discuss your findings in the Discussion forum.”

[Discussion question prompt] “In the video, we observed an interaction between a manger and an employee where a conflict arose about compensation. List all of the strategies you observed in this video for each participant. For each, describe whether the strategy is constructive or adversarial.”

Example #2 – Evaluating:

[Prompt preceding the video] “Watch the following video demonstrating a classic example of a business related interaction between a manager and an employee. Look for the kinds of strategies each participant employs and how these strategies change over the course of the interaction. Take notes on what you observe, using your textbook as a reference for the main principles. Be prepared to discuss your findings in the Discussion forum.”

[Discussion question prompt] “In the video, we observed a range of strategies employed by the manager over the course of the interaction. Identify each strategy used and evaluate whether the chosen strategy was an optimal decision under the conditions. Explain why the chosen strategy was or was not optimal, and propose alternatives for those which you found to be sub-optimal.”

From these two examples, you can see how the same content can be used on more than one level of thinking.

The first example would be better as part of an initial module on conflict resolution strategies, whereas the second example might be better used towards the end of a course, or perhaps as a critical assignment for summative assessment.

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