Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: Cognitive processes and levels of knowledge matrix

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy (Remember - Understand - Apply - Analyze - Evaluate - Create) not only improved the usability of it (using action words), but perhaps also made it more accurate. However, probably the best feature — the matrix — is often left unnoticed. While Bloom's original cognitive taxonomy did mention three levels of knowledge or products that could be processed (shown below), they were not discussed very much and remained one-dimensional. The three levels are:

  • Factual - The basic elements students must know to be acquainted with a discipline or solve problems.
  • Conceptual – The interrelationships among the basic elements within a larger structure that enable them to function together.
  • Procedural - How to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, algorithms, techniques, and methods.

In Krathwohl and Anderson's revised version, the authors combine the cognitive processes with the above three levels of knowledge to form a matrix. In addition they added another level of knowledge - metacognition:

  • Metacognitive – Knowledge of cognition in general, as well as awareness and knowledge of one’s own cognition. 

When the cognitive and knowledge dimensions are arranged in a matrix, as shown below, it makes a nice performance aid for creating performance objectives:

The Cognitive Dimension

The Knowledge Dimension Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create

However, others have identified five contents or artifacts (Clark, Chopeta, 2004; Clark, Mayer, 2007):

  • Facts - Specific and unique data or instance.

  • Concepts - A class of items, words, or ideas that are known by a common name, includes multiple specific examples, shares common features. There are two types of concepts: concrete and abstract.

  • Processes - A flow of events or activities that describe how things work rather than how to do things. There are normally two types: business processes that describe work flows and technical processes that describe how things work in equipment or nature. They can be thought of as the big picture, of how something works.

  • Procedures - A series of step-by-step actions and decisions that result in the achievement of a task. There are two types of actions: linear and branched.

  • Principles - Guidelines, rules, and parameters that govern. It includes not only what should be done, but also what should not be done. Principles allow one to make predictions and draw implications. Given an effect, one can infer the cause of a phenomena. Principles are the basic building blocks of causal models or theoretical models (theories).

Thus the matrix might look similar to this:

The Cognitive Dimension

The Knowledge Dimension Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create

An example matrix that has been filled in might look something like this:

The Knowledge Dimension Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create
Facts list paraphrase classify outline rank categorize
Concepts recall explains demonstrate contrast criticize modify
Processes outline estimate produce diagram defend design
Procedures reproduce give an example relate identify critique plan
Principles state converts solve differentiates conclude revise
Metacognitive proper use interpret discover infer predict actualize

For more on Bloom's Taxonomy, see:

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