Bloom's Taxonomy


What is Bloom's Taxonomy

The pursuit of effective teaching and learning strategies is a constant endeavor. The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is one enduring framework that has played a pivotal role in shaping education.

This revised version, created by a team of educators in 2001, builds upon the original taxonomy developed by Benjamin S. Bloom in the 1950s. It provides a contemporary approach to cognitive development and is widely used by educators to design meaningful learning experiences. The revised taxonomy consists of six hierarchical levels, each emphasizing a different cognitive skill, from the foundational stages to the most advanced.

1. Remember:

At the base of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is the “Remember” level. Here, learners are expected to recall basic information and facts. This stage involves the simplest form of cognition, such as memorizing historical dates, vocabulary, or mathematical formulas. Remembering is the foundation upon which higher-level thinking skills are built.

2. Understand:

Once students grasp the foundational knowledge, they move on to the “Understand” stage. Here, the focus is on comprehension. Learners are required to explain concepts, describe processes, and translate information into their own words. This level signifies that students have memorized and understood the material.

3. Apply:

The “Apply” stage bridges the gap between knowledge and action. Students are challenged to use their acquired knowledge and comprehension in practical scenarios at this level. They might solve problems, apply concepts to real-life situations, or employ information in a novel context. Application represents a crucial step in turning theoretical knowledge into practical skills.

4. Analyze:

Moving up the taxonomy, the “Analyze” stage involves breaking down complex information into its components and understanding their relationships. Learners are asked to examine patterns, categorize data, and identify the underlying structure of the subject matter. This level promotes critical thinking and the ability to discern key elements within a larger context.

5. Evaluate:

“Evaluate” requires students to make judgments and assess information’s value, quality, and validity. Learners analyze evidence, weigh arguments, and reach informed conclusions at this stage. They are expected to critically appraise competing ideas or solutions and defend their own opinions with sound reasoning.

6. Create:

At the pinnacle of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is the “Create” stage, representing the highest cognitive development level. Here, students are challenged to synthesize and generate new ideas, solutions, and concepts. This level encourages innovation, creativity, and originality. Learners may be asked to devise new hypotheses, design experiments, produce artistic works, or formulate novel solutions to complex problems.

The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy offers educators a contemporary and adaptable framework to enhance curriculum design, assessment, and instructional strategies. It acknowledges that learning is not a one-size-fits-all process and that learners progress through these cognitive stages at their own pace.

This taxonomy is a valuable tool for teachers who aim to create lessons that challenge students at various cognitive levels. It emphasizes that the goal of education is not just to impart knowledge but to cultivate critical thinkers and problem solvers who can apply their understanding in practical contexts and, ultimately, create innovative solutions.

Practical applications of Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy, both the original and the revised versions, offers educators a versatile framework that can be applied in various ways to enhance teaching and learning. Here are some practical applications of Bloom’s Taxonomy in education:

  1. Curriculum Design:
    • Educators can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to structure and sequence curriculum content. By ensuring that learning objectives align with the different cognitive levels, teachers can create a balanced and progressive learning experience.

  2. Lesson Planning:
    • Teachers can design lessons that incorporate activities and assessments at different cognitive levels to engage students in various types of thinking. This diversity of activities keeps lessons dynamic and interesting.

  3. Assessment Development:
    • Bloom’s Taxonomy can guide the creation of assessments, such as quizzes, tests, and assignments, that measure knowledge and higher-order thinking skills. This ensures that assessments accurately reflect the depth of students’ understanding.

  4. Differentiated Instruction:
    • Educators can tailor their instruction to meet the diverse needs of students by providing different learning activities and assessments at multiple cognitive levels. This supports individualized and inclusive learning.

  5. Scaffolding Learning:
    • Teachers can scaffold instruction by gradually introducing more complex tasks and questions as students progress through the taxonomy. This helps students build their skills and confidence step by step.

  6. Critical Thinking Development:
    • By focusing on the “Analyze,” “Evaluate,” and “Create” levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, educators can foster critical thinking skills in students, enabling them to assess information, make informed judgments, and generate creative solutions.

  7. Problem-Based Learning:
    • Problem-based learning (PBL) aligns well with Bloom’s Taxonomy. In PBL, students tackle real-world problems, requiring them to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create solutions, mirroring the taxonomy’s higher levels.

  8. Project-Based Learning:
    • Project-based learning (PBL) tasks encourage students to work collaboratively, apply knowledge, and synthesize information to create a final project. This approach aligns with the “Apply,” “Analyze,” and “Create” levels of the taxonomy.

  9. Inquiry-Based Learning:
    • Inquiry-based learning promotes student-driven investigation, encouraging learners to ask questions, analyze data, and create their own knowledge, aligning with the taxonomy’s higher levels.

  10. Professional Development:
    • Educators can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to enhance their own teaching skills. By understanding the cognitive levels, teachers can better design professional development opportunities and self-assess their teaching practices.

  11. Feedback and Reflection:
    • Feedback can be tied to the specific cognitive levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Providing constructive feedback that guides students toward higher-order thinking helps them improve their skills and understanding.

  12. Learning Objectives and Outcomes:
    • Clearly defined learning objectives linked to the cognitive levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy help students understand what is expected of them and guide their study efforts.

  13. Adaptive Learning Technologies:
    • Technology-based learning platforms can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to personalize instruction, offering content and questions that align with the individual student’s cognitive level.

  14. Professional Development for Educators:
    • Educators can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to structure professional development sessions and workshops, helping teachers understand and implement effective teaching practices.

  15. Self-Assessment and Self-Regulation:
    • Students can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to self-assess their own learning and identify areas where they need improvement. This promotes metacognition and self-regulated learning.

Incorporating Bloom’s Taxonomy into educational practices empowers educators to design more effective and engaging learning experiences, fosters critical thinking skills, and equips students with the ability to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. It remains a valuable tool for educators dedicated to promoting meaningful and transformative learning.

How can Bloom's Taxonomy be adapted for online learning?

Adapting Bloom’s Taxonomy for online learning is essential for organizations like Management and Strategy Institute to ensure that educational objectives, activities, and assessments align with the digital learning environment. Here are some of the strategies used to incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy into online education effectively:

  1. Clearly Defined Learning Objectives:
    • Begin by setting clear and measurable learning objectives for each online lesson or module. These objectives should specify the desired cognitive level, whether it’s remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, or creating.

  2. Online Content and Resources:
    • Select or create online content and resources that correspond with the intended cognitive level. Online lectures, videos, readings, and interactive simulations should support the learning objectives.

  3. Interactive Quizzes and Self-Assessment:
    • Develop interactive quizzes and self-assessment activities that cover all cognitive levels. Remember and understand levels can be assessed with straightforward questions, while apply, analyze, evaluate, and create levels can require deeper responses.

  4. Case Studies and Real-World Applications:
    • Use case studies and real-world applications in online courses to promote the application and analysis of knowledge. These scenarios allow students to apply concepts to practical situations.

  5. Adaptive Learning Technologies:
    • Utilize adaptive learning technologies that adjust the difficulty of questions and content based on each student’s performance. These platforms can offer questions at the appropriate Bloom’s level for individual students.

  6. Rubrics and Grading Criteria:
    • Develop rubrics and grading criteria that align with Bloom’s Taxonomy. These tools can help instructors assess student performance and provide constructive feedback that encourages growth in cognitive skills.

Adapting Bloom’s Taxonomy for online learning requires a thoughtful approach that leverages the capabilities of digital platforms while maintaining a focus on meaningful and deep learning. When designed with Bloom’s Taxonomy in mind, online courses can better equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary for success in the digital age.

Applying Blooms Taxonomy to Six Sigma Education

When applied to Six Sigma training and certification programs, the “Apply” and “Analyze” levels are often the most appropriate stages for students to understand Six Sigma concepts. Here’s how this applies:

  1. Remember and Understand:
    • At the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, such as “Remember” and “Understand,” students may grasp basic terminology, concepts, and the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) methodology. They can memorize the definitions of terms like “Black Belt,” “Control Chart,” and “Variation,” and understand the basic structure of the Six Sigma process. However, this level of knowledge doesn’t necessarily equip them to apply Six Sigma principles effectively.

  2. Apply:
    • The “Apply” level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is critical in Six Sigma training. At this stage, students are required to take their knowledge and apply it to real-world scenarios. They might work on actual projects within an organization, applying DMAIC to identify, analyze, and solve problems. This practical application is where students begin to develop the skills needed for process improvement. It’s not just about knowing the theory; it’s about using that knowledge to drive results.

  3. Analyze:
    • The “Analyze” level is equally crucial in Six Sigma learning. Analyzing data, processes, and performance is at the heart of Six Sigma’s focus on reducing defects and improving quality. Students should be able to evaluate and interpret data using statistical tools and methods, such as histograms, scatter plots, and regression analysis. At this level, they begin to uncover root causes of problems and make data-driven decisions.

The “Apply” and “Analyze” levels are often the most appropriate for Six Sigma learning because Six Sigma is a methodology deeply rooted in practical problem-solving. It’s not a theoretical exercise but rather a systematic approach to improving processes and achieving measurable results. Therefore, for students to truly master Six Sigma, they must go beyond memorization and comprehension to gain proficiency in applying the methodology to actual situations and analyzing data effectively.  MSI’s Six Sigma Body Of Knowledge is developed to teach most concepts to the “Apply” level.  Some elements are developed at an “Analyze” or “Evaluate” level, dependent on the Six Sigma Belt Level being achieved (Black Belt vs Master Black Belt).

In Six Sigma training, reaching the “Apply” and “Analyze” levels may involve the following:

  • Conducting real process improvement projects within an organization, where students apply DMAIC principles to identify issues, collect data, and make improvements.

  • Using statistical software tools to analyze data, perform hypothesis testing, and identify root causes of process variability.

  • Creating control plans and measurement systems for ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the improved process.

  • Developing critical thinking skills to make data-driven decisions and assess the impact of process changes.

  • Passing a timed certification exam that demonstrates the student can recall information quickly.

By reaching these levels, students become competent in understanding the theory of Six Sigma and applying it in real-world scenarios. This hands-on experience and analytical approach are what ultimately lead to successful Six Sigma projects and the achievement of desired quality and process improvement outcomes.

Bloom's Taxonomy in Teaching Project Management

Students can grasp fundamental project management terminology and concepts at the “Remember” and “Understand” levels, such as the project lifecycle, critical path analysis, and project constraints. Moving to the “Apply” level, they can begin to put these concepts into practice by creating project plans, schedules, and budgets for hypothetical scenarios. However, at the “Analyze” level, students delve into the complexities of project management, identifying risks, assessing resource allocation, and evaluating the impact of potential changes to the project plan.

They also learn to critically analyze the success or failure of past projects, which provides valuable insights for future endeavors. Overall, Bloom’s Taxonomy offers a structured approach for educators to guide students through the comprehensive skill set required for effective project management, from basic comprehension to advanced analytical and decision-making capabilities.


The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy continues to guide educators, helping them prepare students to thrive in a complex, dynamic, and rapidly evolving global landscape. It promotes intellectual growth, equipping students with the skills and attitudes necessary for success in their educational journeys and beyond.

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Image: Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, by Wikipedia