WHAT IS THE COGNITIVE TAXONOMY?
In the mid-fifties, Bloom served as part of the Committee of College and University Examiners, editing the cognitive taxonomy. The purpose of their handbook was to provide a structure to assess educational objectives in the cognitive domain, to produce a classification of goals within the educational system which was based on applied theory. Basically, their innovation was meant to be applied as educational reform, prompted by the lack of clarity and focus in the field. Unfortunately, to this day the full potential and implications of the model have yet to be explored.
The cognitive taxonomy can be visualized as a pyramid, a systemic gestalt, built on the premise that learning is not a random process, that it has observable features which can be classified.
The model consists of six categories:
Knowledge ~ This function is described by Bloom as recall. Information is rudimentary knowledge, the bare bones. It was subdivided into twelve categories. Why such an elaborate set of distinctions? One of the main concerns of the committee was the need for a concise definition of terms. We must identify the specific nature of information: at the base of the structure, it is the foundation upon which to construct meaning. 2.
Comprehension – Together with knowledge/information, comprehension represents the lower levels of the cognitive order, in which an understanding of material is shown, but an inability to draw further information from it remains. After recall, information is apprehended, perceived as a framework: a skeleton of knowledge upon which it is possible to build. Often we complacently identify comprehension as the hallmark of learning, preempting the cognitive process in the higher order. 3.
Application – What impact can knowledge have? For what purpose can information be used to manipulate a situation or modify a course of action? Questions that ask how ideas can be put into motion, and to what end. A popular maxim...
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