What are the various aspects of learning that needs to be taken into account to make education wholesome and effective? Many educators, thinkers, philosophers, and psychologists have dwelt upon this question. In the modern era, Benjamin Bloom, an American educational psychologist probed the underlying principles behind learning and came out with a very systematic way of looking at learning known as the Bloom’s Taxonomy that tries to provide an elegant and comprehensive answer.
Bloom’s Taxonomy covers three domains through which a learner engages in learning, namely, the cognitive, the affective and the psycho-motor.
He divided the cognitive domain into six levels ranging from the lowest to the highest form of cognitive learning abilities.
The six levels that Benjamin Bloom identified under cognitive domain are:
1. Knowledge: Knowledge involves simply recalling or memorization of facts. For example, formulae, historical dates, key definitions, etc, can be memorized. In this rudimentary stage of learning, the learner may sometimes spew out some information that he/she remembers without completely understanding the concept. He/she may only have a vague understanding of the topic. Schools in the early 1900s focused on rote learning. This practice still continues to be the norm in many parts of the world.
2. Comprehension: In this stage, the learner demonstrates deep understanding of the concept and is able to articulate the information learnt in his or her own words. For example, a learner might be able to beautifully explain the process of photosynthesis in his or her own words after going through a detailed interactive animation on the same topic.
3. Application: In this stage, the learner after having a deep grasp of the concept is able to apply it in practical situations. For example, the learner will be able to make a simple solar cooker after learning about its principles and how to make one.
4. Analysis: Analysis involves breaking down the information that is conceptually understood and applied into smaller chunks and being able to think about it. For example, the learner might look at particular aspects of a poem that he or she is studying like the rhyme scheme or use of metaphors and similes.
5. Synthesis: Synthesis is bringing together the different concepts of a topic/group of topics into a cohesive whole after applying the learning and coming up with innovations based on the same. At this stage, one’s creativity is unleashed as the learner tries to integrate the learning from different sources. For example, the learner may come up with a new design for a space craft after a comprehensive study of aerodynamics.
6. Evaluation: Evaluation enables the learner to give critical feedback on any piece of work. For example, a self-assessment of a piece of literature that a writer has written comes under evaluation.
The affective domain is another crucial domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy which involves the emotional well-being of the learner. This is one aspect of his learning theory that has been sadly neglected in many educational systems. This involves developing the self-esteem as well as the empathy level of the learner.
The psycho-motor domain involves using one’s own hands or tools in order to find solutions and encompasses the overall physical being of the learner including coordination. Sports help in developing this domain.
We can thus conclude that if all the aspects of Bloom’s Taxonomy are incorporated into the learning process, we can have a more wholesome learning outcome.