Tip #173: Involving the Senses: Model #3

The third model is the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, which Benjamin Bloom proposed in 1956. Bloom headed a group of cognitive psychologists at the University of Chicago that identified six progressive and inter-dependent levels, or building blocks, of learning.

Knowledge is the first level, which is the foundation for all higher thinking. Without Knowledge, there cannot be a second level (Comprehension). The only way we can determine whether Comprehension has been achieved is if the learner has an opportunity to restate new learning in his or her own words. As Edgar Dale has shown, saying increases the likelihood of retention to 70%.

Without the first and second levels, there cannot be the third level (Application). Application is the “doing”level, which increases the likelihood of retention to 90%. In other words, a learner needs to have information (Knowledge) and understand what it means (Comprehension) before s/he can use it to do something (Application). Application is the launching pad for all higher level thinking: Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

The ultimate goal of skill-building training is for the learners to use the information or techniques they have been taught. As a result, the training must include training methods that provide Knowledge, check learner Comprehension, and give the learners the opportunity to practice the Application of the information or techniques. All of these training methods require the active participation of the learners.

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