Have you ever wondered about how educators design the education system? Surely there must be a structural method of distinguishing the process of cognitive learning in young minds. One such framework is the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, also known in the education world as Bloom’s Taxonomy, because it was founded by Benjamin Bloom, along with Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl, in 1956.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has been applied to education systems from kindergarten all the way to university curriculum. It consists of six major categories. The first is Knowledge. Being the first, Knowledge is considered a must before the following categories: Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. Sometimes, you’ll see a pyramid structure of the taxonomy, with Knowledge, Comprehension, and Application at the bottom. This is because some users of Bloom’s Taxonomy consider those three categories lower level learning, with the other three categories of Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation being higher level skills.

The Revised Version

In 2001, another group of scholars spearheaded by Lorin Anderson (who studied with Bloom) and David Krathwohl (of the original committee), published a revised version called A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. It is often called simply the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. This revised version was designed to be more user friendly to educators.

The previous categories were renamed into verbs according to how the taxonomy was actually used in practice throughout the decades. The new categories are now: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating. The highest hierarchy in this revised system is Creating.

Debate and Criticism

Much of the criticism surrounding Bloom’s Taxonomy and also its revised version lies behind the argument that learning is not a hierarchical process. The system also gives the impression that some of the skills/categories are more important than others. Critics often point out that learning is an integrated process, not something where some skills can be compartmentalized from other skills.

At the end of the day, the human brain is a complex organ of which we still don’t know much about, and the process and system of cognitive learning should always be updated and renewed according to the most recent studies and research.