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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Intermediate Courses and Bloom's Taxonomy

ITIL Lifecycle and Capability courses and exams are built based on Bloom levels 3 and 4
  • Bloom 3 – application – measures ability to use information in new ways to solve problems, predict results, tell how, when, where and why 
  • Bloom 4 – analysis – measures ability to distinguish between different parts, understand how parts fit together, identify causes, recognize hidden meanings, draw conclusions
These courses are intended to provide “how to” knowledge as opposed to ITIL Foundation’s “what about” knowledge.
Effective learning and study techniques for learners taking Bloom levels 3 and 4 exams include:
  • Do your pre-class reading and in-class homework assignments
  • Actively participate in class discussions, debates and assignments
  • Use the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) reading and study technique 
  • Create complex mind maps to tie terms, concepts, and activities to key topics (Visual/Kinesthetic) 
  • Practice mapping ITIL concepts to real world situations/problems 
  • Create inductive diagrams - diagrams that illustrate inductive reasoning which involves moving from observations to a theory 
  • Create deductive diagrams - diagrams that illustrate deductive reasoning which involves starting with a theory and confirming (or not) that theory
Want to become an ITIL Expert?  In May, 2012, the new Managing Across the Lifecycle (MALC) syllabus and exam will be introduced based on Bloom level 5.  Stay tuned to my next blog for more information on Bloom Level 5 and MALC.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ITIL Foundation and Bloom's Taxonomy

In this second of a series, we explore the learning and testing objectives of  ITIL Foundation  based on Blooms Taxonomy.  We also look at some helpful study hints.

ITIL Foundation is based on Bloom Levels 1 and 2:
  • Bloom 1 – knowledge – measures recall of terminology and specific facts
  • Bloom 2 – comprehension – measures understanding of ideas and the ability to translate or explain concepts

Bloom's Taxonomy uses verbs to describe expected the level of learning and thinking.

Bloom level 1 measurable verbs include: define, describe, find, identify, know, label, list, match, name, outline, recall, recognize, relate, reproduce, select, state.

You can see from these verbs that at Bloom level 1, you should be able to, for example, define the purpose of a given process or list the five aspects of service design. You must also be able to make associations or relate basic concepts such as impact + urgency = priority.
Bloom level 2 measurable verbs include: classify, compare, comprehend, convert, defend, discuss, distinguish, estimate, explain, extend, generalize, give an example, infer, interpret, outline, paraphrase, predict, restate, summarize, translate.

You can see from these verbs that at Bloom level 2, you should be able to, for example, classify given examples as either incidents or service requests.

You must be able to translate definitions into your own words and provide an example. You should be able to, for example, summarize what all the warranty processes have in common or predict what will happen if we don’t consider the warranty processes during Service Design and Service Transition.  

Essentially, ITIL Foundation equips learners with the ability to understand, explain and translate basic ITIL terms and concepts into real world examples.  That is why ITIL Foundation certification is recommended for most staff and suppliers to ensure a common vocabulary and understanding.

Effective learning and study techniques for learners taking Bloom levels 1 and 2 exams.  These will vary based on your individual learning style and can include: 
  • Take notes/rewrite notes (visual/kinesthetic) - highlight important points in color
  • Reread course materials (visual/auditory/kinesthetic)
  • Complete available study aids (visual/auditory/kinesthetic)
  • Create and use Flash Cards (visual)
  • Record notes, read notes aloud, discuss terms and concepts aloud (auditory)
  • Create mnemonics to aid memorization (auditory)
  • Partner Quizzing (verbal)
  • Create simple mind maps and diagrams to tie terms and basic concepts to key topics (visual/kinesthetic)
  • Read a composed document such as the Introductory Overview of ITIL that provides a “big picture” perspective
ITIL Foundation is not intended to enable you with the ability apply the concepts (Bloom 3) or analyze your the current environment (Bloom 4). That focused level of learning and thinking is available in the Intermediate (Capability and Lifecycle) streams. We will explore the relatiomship between Bloom levels 3 and 4 and the Intermediate courses in the next blog.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your Learning Style and Bloom's Taxonomy

Each of us has a unique learning style.  Do you prefer to "see" or "hear" or "do"?  The answer will not only affect the way you learn, but also the way that you study or prepare for an exam.   

Learning styles include:
  • Visual – learn through seeing
  • Auditory – learn through listening
  • Kinesthetic – learn through moving, doing, touching
Most of us do not use one style exclusively, although we will likely have a preferred style.  Recognizing your primary style will not only help you get the most from your ITIL certification course, it will also help you adapt your study style to the demands of the Bloom level being taught and tested.

A visual learner will likely take a much different approach at Bloom level 3 (applying) than a kinesthetic learner.  The visual learner may draft a very detailed flowchart while the kinesthetic learner may do a mock run-through of the process.

In the next few weekly blogs, I will map Bloom levels to the levels within the ITIL Qualification scheme, including somlearning-style suggestions for learning and study techniques.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who was Benjamin Bloom and Why Should I Care?

Benjamin Bloom (1913 – 1999) was an American educational psychologist who contributed to the classification of educational objectives and to the theory of mastery-learning (an instructional method that presumes all students can learn if they are provided with appropriate learning conditions). Bloom headed a team that developed a taxonomy, or structure, through which educational objectives could be organized according to their cognitive complexity. The cognitive domain deals with a person's ability to process information and use it in a meaningful way. Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain, from the simple recall of facts, through increasingly more complex and abstract levels of thinking.

Simply put, Bloom’s Taxonomy helps educators categorize learning objectives and assess learning achievements.

Why should you care? The ITIL syllabi and exams are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy in increasing levels of difficulty and complexity. ITIL Foundation, for example, is tested at Blooms Level 1 and 2. The upcoming MALC 2011 course will be testing at Blooms Level 4 and 5. That's a pretty big difference.
Understanding Blooms levels helps to set your expectations, therefore increasing your ability to
  • Realistically estimate the time and effort required before and during the class
  • Engage with your instructor and other learners in class
  • Pass the certification exam
  • Use the knowledge that you gain in class
Bloom’s taxonomy includes measurable verbs that can be used to describe and classify knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors and abilities that we expect to observe in learners. The theory is based upon the idea that there are levels of observable actions that indicate something is happening in the brain (cognitive activity). By creating learning objectives using measurable verbs, instructors know explicitly what the student must do in order to demonstrate learning. This improves the ability of the instructor to help you achieve your learning goals and pass the exam. 

Over the next few blogs, I'll dive a little deeper into the different levels of Blooms Taxonomy at the different levels of the ITIL Qualification Scheme. Stay tuned!