We’re going to get a little technical here. The reason this is in the mental health section is because learning is a necessary skill. If you’re good at it, you can avoid a lot of frustration in life. In this post, we’re going to discuss a widely accepted model of learning – Bloom’s taxonomy model.
Bloom’s taxonomy model
Benjamin Bloom (1913 – 1999) was born in Pennsylvania. His main interest was in education. He made the following quote:
What any person in the world can learn, almost all persons can learn if provided with appropriate prior and current conditions of learning.
As jews, Bloom’s parents escaped a life of discrimination in Russia. It was quite clear that he himself believed in equal opportunities for all, and what better tool is there for that than education? Anyway, that’s a little bit about him. According to Benjamin’s work, there are 6 stages of information processing. They are:
(5) Synthesis and finally,
We’re going to explain each of these stages with an example. Suppose that Daren is trying to understand what music reveals about a person’s psyche. So, he reads and listens to a lot of literature on the subject. All that is information to be processed in order to form a thorough understanding. Now, let’s see how Bloom’s taxonomy would apply to this example.
Note: The example is our own. If you’d like to look at Bloom’s original work, then read Taxonomy of educational objectives by Bloom. et. al (1956).
Knowing is simply recalling and repeating what is heard or read. Let’s say Daren encountered information that said, people who are addicted are afraid to fall back into old habits every second of the day. Thus, they tend to listen to music that has dark and disquieting undertones of fear and helplessness. Now that Daren has encountered this information, he knows.
According to Bloom, comprehension essentially meant being able to summarize key insights from known information and also being able to accurately paraphrase (explain in your own words) the specifics of that information. Daren, for instance, could claim success in comprehending the information about fearful music if he could summarize key insights such as:
(1) Deep emotional undertones in music reflect the same kind of emotion in the conscious part of the listener’s psyche.
(2) Less deep emotional undertones reflect the same kind of emotion in subconscious parts of the listener’s psyche.
As for paraphrasing (explaining in your own words) the specifics, an example might be: So what you’re saying is that the person feeling fear will listen to music that speaks about fear?
Application is the next stage, and we all know what it means. You apply your knowledge and comprehension of a subject to a relevant example. For instance, Daren might apply his insight that the emotions in music reflect the listener’s own emotional state to a friend of his. A friend who listens to really upbeat music. Thus, Daren might deduce that his friend has a very upbeat psyche in general.
Bloom had a lot to say about this particular step. Crunching it down to its essence, you might say that analysis refers to being able to really break down the subject in terms of its constituent components and their relationships and interactions. Let’s go back to fearful music example. One way to analyze/or break this down is as follows:
So people who consciously live in fear listen to dark and ominous music. The components of their psyche are: 1) conscious feeling 2) feeling of fear and 3) intense connection with the music, and the relationships and interactions are that the music carries an intensity which invokes the consciousness which, in turn, invokes the fear part of the consciousness. Now, what would happen if there was one stanza somewhere in between the song that didn’t have to do with fear? Then, would the song invoke the same components, or would it invoke different – possibly, as yet unknown – components?
You see how analysis works? It works by really breaking down the subject into its components and trying to play around with the relationships and interactions across those components.
In the synthesis stage, the learner is expected to leverage their new knowledge and understanding to come up with something original. In Daren’s case, for example, at the end of his analysis of the emotional undertones in music, he might have an original idea that such emotional undertones can also speak to the person’s psyche through other art forms such as movies or paintings.
This is the final step of information processing, according to Bloom. It involves evaluating your original idea with respect to some standard. Daren might, for instance, evaluate his idea that movies also speak to a person’s psyche through emotional undertones by trying to notice for standard body language indicators that a person is getting emotionally affected as expected during the movie.
That completes Bloom’s taxonomy model of information processing/learning. We hope this helps you become a better learner. We would love to hear from you on how exactly Bloom’s taxonomy applied to your learning task. Thank you for reading!