Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy: Examples from the Online World

Online collaboration between learners is the bedrock of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. It talks about using various collaboration tools to achieve the 6 learning stages namely - knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. This taxonomy does not specify which collaboration tools and technologies should be used for learning. Instead, it focuses on how to use them to improve learning.

In this post I have tried to give a few examples on how online collaboration in learning can help learners at each stage of learning.

The first stage of Bloom's learning taxonomy deals with remembering - retrieving, recalling or recognizing knowledge from memory. Remembering is when memory is used to produce definitions, facts or lists, or recite or retrieve material.

In the digital world, examples of learning activities that lead to remembering include highlighting and social bookmarking.

Highlighting of key phrases helps in memorizing them. Social bookmarks allow learners to collaborate and quickly -as well as frequently- visit important pages, helping memorize their content.

Comprehension is Understanding, or constructing meaning. Understanding builds relationships and links knowledge. Learners who understand concepts are able to explain or describe these. They can summarize and rephrase these into their own words.

Digital examples of comprehension include categorization, tagging, boolean searching and annotation.

Classifying digital information in files and folders involves categorization. Tagging and bookmarking causes a learner to understand online content and attribute it with appropriate labels. Boolean searching works the other way, but accomplishes the same purpose. In order to find a piece of online content, a learner needs to perform search by combining multiple criteria - something that requires understanding what he/she is looking for. The link between annotation and comprehension should be easy to understand. Imagine a student reading a text book on a Kindle book reader. A Kindle annotation on a topic of particular interest, denoted by a superscript number, may link to the student's own version of what he/she understood of that topic.

Application is about carrying out or using a procedure through executing or implementing.

Digital examples include editing a document, completing a simulation and performing a task using a piece of application software, to name a few.

Editing involves the application of various rules such as spell checking, grammar checking, formatting and so forth, to complete a procedure. Simulation requires you to apply your knowledge to a situation to successfully complete required steps in a given scenario. The use of application software to complete a task requires you to follow a process.

Analysis involves breaking material or concepts into parts, determining how the parts relate or interrelate to one another or to an overall structure or purpose. Mental actions include differentiating, organizing and attributing as well as being able to distinguish between components.

One good digital example of analysis is hyperlinking, which involves creating links between documents and/or web pages. A link establishes the connection between a source and a destination, and therefore involves analysis.

Another digital example of analysis is a making a twitter list, where you organize a group of followers by their interest in a certain topic.

Synthesis is about creating, or putting several elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning or producing.

Digital examples of synthesis include multimedia production and publishing.

Multimedia production can include podcasting, movie making (video capture, mixing and editing) , animating, videocasting, etc. Learners are increasingly using content creation tools that let them produce unique multimedia experiences by combining elemental content.

Publishing is the sequel to production. It can take the form of blogging, video blogging or wiki writing.

Evaluation is about making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.

One great digital example of evaluation is blog commenting. Learners have to evaluate the content of a blog post in order to comment on it. Comment moderation also requires evaluation. After all, the moderator has to determine the worth and relevance of a comment.