Tip #604: Rethinking Bloom

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou

This Tip is not so much about rethinking Bloom’s Taxonomy but instead realizing that my understanding (and therefore explanation) of the difference between Bloom’s cognitive levels of Analysis and Evaluation had become muddled.

It took a scientist in a Dubai train the trainer program to point out that they can be very easily distinguished from each other:

“Analysis” requires viewing a topic or situation from a variety of perspectives.

“Evaluation” requires applying criteria to make a judgment.

This clarification occurred following a discussion of a case study.

The case study involved the following scenario:

The trainer went through the participant manual page by page, identifying important information that had already been covered in earlier sessions. He also identified exceptions to general rules, some of which he indicated were less likely to arise on the job. This overview lasted two hours. It became apparent from the participants’ responses that they had forgotten a great deal of the information.

There were two case study questions:

  1. Is learning likely to occur in this session? Why or why not?
  2. What should the trainer do differently, if anything?

After we debriefed their analyses, I asked the participants what level of learning I wanted them to achieve when I chose to use the case study.

I expected their response to be “Analysis,” since they had analyzed the case- and many participants did call out “Analysis.”

However, the wiser participant responded that “Evaluation” was the desired learning level.

I was surprised and asked him why he felt that way.

He explained that the only way they could judge “if learning was likely to occur ” was by applying the criteria for effective training techniques, based on adult learning principles.

He was absolutely right.

Because of his comments that day, we all gained a better understanding of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

We trainers are so fortunate that every training program affords an opportunity to learn from our participants.

May your learning be sweet.


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