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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!

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