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How to Help People Learn Without Overwhelming Them




How Do We Promote Higher Level Thinking Today?

It's one thing for educators to teach to tests that offer learners certification that proves they've mastered key facts and concepts that panels of experts deem necessary for an 'educated' person to know.

It's another thing altogether to help learners exploit their native curiosity and continuously improve their higher order thinking so they are able to solve the endless stream of complex problems that everyday life delivers. It's true, as Tony Karreer says, life is mostly an open book test.

For many years, Bloom's Taxonomy has offered teachers and learners some useful distinctions that help break down complex tasks into structured learning experiences that allow people to build on their success.

The early taxonomy began with knowledge, understanding, and application as lower level skills and cast higher level skills as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.



However, getting learners engaged - and keeping them engaged - in the increasingly busy and 'noisy' information environment of the 21st century seems to be presenting new challenges.

In 2001, Anderson and Krathwohl adapted Bloom's model to fit the needs of today by employing more outcome-oriented language, workable objectives, and changing nouns to active verbs.

Most notably, knowledge was converted to remember. In addition, the highest level of development is now called create, rather than evaluate.




Recently, Barbara Clark (2007) provided an adaptation of Bloom's work to facilitate active learning.

This circle is called the Cognitive Taxonomy Circle:



(You can click on the image above to get a larger representation if you're having a hard time reading it here. I've linked the graphic to another page online that displays it in a larger format.)

I find Clark's tool useful when I need to respond to learners' needs directly, actively, and specifically. I use it to help me meet learners of all ages - and all abilities - where they are in their personal inquiry, not where I am, or where I think they ought to be.

When I'm able to do this, engagement seems to take care of itself.

What tools do you use to help you meet learners where they are?

This is not a rhetorical question. It's a real question that I'm truly curious about...

  1. cdruyen saidSun, 20 Apr 2008 07:05:09 -0000 ( Link )

    Hi Meri,
    thank you for sharing this with the community
    Carmen

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  2. mawstools saidThu, 24 Apr 2008 23:31:29 -0000 ( Link )

    Glad you enjoyed this, Carmen. I think it’s important for all of us to keep teaching on the growing edge. I love Clark’s way of adapting the new Bloom for action!

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  3. kimrothwell saidWed, 25 Jun 2008 19:59:33 -0000 ( Link )

    This is a wonderful resource – particularly the updates for Bloom’s taxonomy! Theory always seems to go over well with instructors when deciding on ways to structure courses.

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  4. lucyinthesky saidFri, 14 Nov 2008 23:10:32 -0000 ( Link )

    I’ve never heard of Bloom’s taxonomy until now. This is a great measure of learning and knowledge! Thanks so much.

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  5. Shouldice saidFri, 19 Dec 2008 15:46:12 -0000 ( Link )

    This is a good one Mary. Thanks for posting it. I can make changes to my day to day as a result.

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  6. mawstools saidFri, 19 Dec 2008 17:11:39 -0000 ( Link )

    Glad you found an immediate application, Shouldice! I find uses almost everyday for these distinctions. I just launched a new blog, by the way. If you’re interested in virtual meetings, you might take a peek: http://www.virtualmeetingcoach.com. I’d love to hear what you think about it!

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  7. Eleonor Elizabeth saidSat, 20 Dec 2008 15:30:29 -0000 ( Link )

    “Where they are in their personality, inquiry, not where I am or where I think they ought to be”.
    I understand, this is the best part of the text. Thanks for posting it.

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  8. mawstools saidSat, 20 Dec 2008 16:00:51 -0000 ( Link )

    Thanks for taking time to share what’s valuable to you about my lessons here, Eleonor! I’m really curious about where you are in your personal inquiry here at LearnHub… Would you have time to use the cognitive taxonomy circle to identify that for the two of us? Which of those activities in the inner circle are fueling most of your inquiry here right now? I’m guessing you’re mostly in the “apply” part of the pie right now… but what would YOU say?

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  9. Eleonor Elizabeth saidSat, 20 Dec 2008 18:47:14 -0000 ( Link )

    Thanks for asking me.
    Personally I believe that the human being born with the potencial to learn since born. The Education system from different cultures and Institutions have been giving us many information about how to think, learn and do things which is good, but we should not forget that we are individuals and unique in our own personality.
    As a Christian I believe in “the gift” that the Lord gave us individually, and is our responsabily to develop, and the Spiritual side help us to do it.

    For me, here on LearnHub is the place that I can find the tools that I need to develop my potencial.
    As a Teacher I love to learn languages and the things which helps me to have a better life style and I like to share the things that I am learnig or I have learnt before.
    As you say “it is not only for a pay check is for a living”.
    Thanks very much for inviting me.

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  10. Shouldice saidMon, 22 Dec 2008 22:42:26 -0000 ( Link )

    hi Meri, Thanks for posting this. It has inspired me to send it to a friend who is working on a project with me and has yet to become a learnhubber. Also it inspired me to post a quick lesson from Alfred Bernharts book about his theory of 7 tiers of intellectual challenge. They mirror nicely with the updated Blooms taxonomy.

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  11. mawstools saidTue, 23 Dec 2008 18:19:07 -0000 ( Link )

    Glad you found it useful, Shouldice. I would love to look at your lesson…can’t find it here just searching. Would you post a link so we can all take a look easily?

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