Designing Activities Using the Revised Cognitive Taxonomy

Introduction

This tutorial describes activities at each level of the revised cognitive taxonomy. The focus is on use of innovative tools and processes with digital technology. Projects, essay exams, reports, and other traditional activities are not the focus of this tutorial. Those activities are appropriate in certain learning contexts and learning experience designers will need to weigh an activity’s learning benefit from including a technology-centered approach. Please see the References | Credits section of this tutorial for additional information on its origination, references, and preferred citation when giving attribution to the contents of the tutorial.

Click Here to Access the Original SWF Tutorial Version (2008, Lisa Johnson, PhD) ]


Remembering

Real-world activities demonstrating Remembering include recalling information in meaningful ways, such as a learner being able to recite a policy, quote facts and figures, such as prices, or relate safety or other procedural rules from memory (Clark, 2015).

Bookmarking

To design for bookmarking, ask learners to select online content on a specific topic or series of topics and organize the webpages and articles online about the topic(s) on a device, such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You can assess performance on this style of activity with the learners’ submission of an image (e.g., screen capture) of the bookmarks on their device to reveal the organization of the items in a format that demonstrates accurate recall and identification of key themes in a topic or series of topics. While selecting items for bookmarking, learners may also demonstrate cognition representative of the understanding, analysis, and evaluation levels of the taxonomy.

Social Bookmarking

To design for social bookmarking, ask learners to use a web-based social bookmarking technology, such as Diigo, LiveBinders, Scoop.it, Pintrest, or Delicious. The social bookmarking activity might be completed individually or as part of a small or large group collaboration. Organizing and tagging bookmarks with specific keywords demonstrates the ability to identify, recall, and name key aspects of a topic. Assess the style of activity with the learners submission of a link to the location of their bookmarks. While selecting items for social bookmarking, learners may also demonstrate cognition representative of the understanding, analysis, and evaluation levels of the taxonomy.

Labeling

To design for labeling, ask learners to use a blank map or taxonomy you have created from a web-based mind mapping, concept mapping, or taxonomy mapping technology, such as FreeMind or Coggle. The labeling activity might be completed individually or as part of a small or large group collaboration. Ask learners to label an empty concept map, and mind map, or taxonomy to add key terms or concepts and demonstrate recall and recognition of order or alignment. Alternatively, learners can be asked to label an image or process diagram demonstrating the ability to identify, locate, and name through recall of specific items.

Quizzing

To design for quizzing, ask learners to list, match, label, identify, or otherwise recall information to answer a series of questions about a concept. Though quiz or test and the true/false, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching formats can be written for higher order cognitive skills, these question forms are most often associated with remembering and relating recall information at the lowest level of cognition in the revised taxonomy, which is remembering. Alternatively, asking learners to create questions and develop answer-keys for quizzing that are completed by peers is an effective strategy to engage learner recall of knowledge. Asking learners to write questions may also extend the quizzing activity so that students are demonstrating a higher level of cognitive ability.

Listing

In a listing activity, learners demonstrate the same skill as with writing a list, but it is performed in a digital environment using ordered lists, with numbers, or un-ordered lists, with bullets. To design for listing, ask learners to use a word processing program, such as Google Docs or MS Word, or even the text editor and a discussion forum within an online course, to produce lists. An alternative is to ask learners to create lists on slides using presentation technology, such as MS PowerPoint or Google Slides. Creating an ordered list by number or date demonstrates the skill of recalling and sequencing events and accurate order. Creating an unordered list by bullet pointing demonstrates the skill of recalling and compiling information. Listing is also an effective activity for brainstorming prior knowledge on a topic before a higher order cognitive activity.

Refer to Churches (2009) for example bookmarking rubrics and exemplars.


 

Understanding

Authentic activities demonstrating Understanding include a learner being able to translate an equation, explain steps for performing a complex task, or interpret issues and instructions with original phrasing (Clark, 2015).

Advanced Searching

To design for advanced searching, ask learners to construct Boolean (e.g., AND, NOT, OR, etc.) search strings to demonstrate an understanding of a topic’s key components. The ability to modify a search by phrasing, inferring, and interpreting key components in a search topic demonstrates understanding. As an extension of this activity, providing search strings beyond single words and evaluating the results of the search incorporate higher order cognitive abilities.

Journaling

To design for journaling, ask learners to use an individually managed or group blog, wiki or other online writing/journaling tool, such as Google Docs, to explain, compare, or summarize concepts. The journal can be part of a larger activity involving collaboration and discussion to scaffold development toward higher order cognitive abilities.

Categorizing

Otherwise known as tagging, to design for categorizing, ask learners to organize and classify a group of items, such as documents, images, or webpages, using folders or social bookmarking technology. A group of tags can be provided, or learners may be asked to create original tags for their categorizations individually or in a group setting. Learners would then apply the tags to the organize content to demonstrate understanding of the key themes of the topic. Asking learners to justify use of a tag or process of categorization transcends understanding and will demonstrate higher order cognitive abilities, including analyzing and evaluating.

Annotating

Otherwise known as commenting, to design for annotating, ask learners to use a web-based annotation tool to add notes as comments to PDFs or other document files or images to demonstrate they understand content beyond a recognition or recall level. Giving an image of a process or taxonomy and having learners annotate the content is another example of commenting or annotating for demonstrating the understanding level of cognitive ability in the revised taxonomy.

Subscribing

Churches (2009) noted that, “the act of subscription by itself does not show or develop understanding, but often the process of reading and revisiting the subscribed feeds leads to greater understanding” (p. 11). Nevertheless, selecting a subscription, usually using an RSS-feed technology, and submitting the subscription along with an explanation or summary that interprets the relationship of the subscription (i.e., feed) to a concept, process or topic, is a way for learners to demonstrate understanding abilities. Alternatively, by selecting and justifying a series of subscriptions/feeds on a topic, learners are producing a resource demonstrating thinking at the critical level of creating, which is the highest level of the revised cognitive taxonomy.

Refer to Churches (2009), for examples of searching, journaling, and wiki editing rubrics and exemplars.


 

Applying

Authentic activities demonstrating Applying include using concepts in novel situations and may be demonstrated by following a problem-solving method for a variety of issues or by applying statistics to determine survey validity (Clark, 2015).

Operating

To design for operating, ask learners to demonstrate operating or manipulating “hardware and applications to obtain a basic goal or objective” (Churches, 2015, p. 9). Furthermore, to design for operating learners may also be asked to accurately use an instrument in a lab experiment that the learner videos or create an audio recording of while completing the steps. Use of screen capture technology is also useful for asking learners to demonstrate accurate techniques with library database searches and file or other content creation, which demonstrates applying of principles and techniques.

Sharing

Typically involving the process of uploading as well, to design for sharing ask learners to share images, video, audio, text content, or mixtures of these and a course or using a web-based service and network community, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Sharing according to a set of created or prescribed standards will demonstrate application whereby students are applying a set of principles and methods. Collaborating with peers in the process of selecting, organizing, and delivering uploaded content or content curated from around the web can initiate higher order cognitive abilities, such as analyzing and evaluating.

Editing

To design for editing, ask learners to revise existing content of their own creation or of others in a document, repository or other format, such as a wiki, a Google Doc, or even in a Google Slides presentation. The act of editing processes, procedures, and content according to a set of guidelines and principles demonstrates application, but may also involve levels of analyzing and evaluating and arguably creating levels of the revised cognitive taxonomy as well.

Playing

To design for playing, asking learners to present, perform, interview, and otherwise engage in a simulated context works well. Screened captures, video, and/or audio of play encourage reflection on accuracy in applying principles and methods in specific contexts. Learners might also demonstrate playing in MORPGs (multiplayer online role-playing games) to demonstrate role-playing and application of appropriate methods or techniques. Successful plan operation of a game demonstrates recall of methods and understanding of processes or tasks when applying skills. Incorporating nonverbal communication (e.g., gestures, attire, posture) using an avatar creates an opportunity to assess learners application of skills in the affective domain as well.

Refer to Churches (2009) for example rubrics for these activities and exemplars of collaboration, audio/video conferencing, and interactive whiteboards.


 

Analyzing

Authentic activities demonstrating Analyzing include distinguishing between facts and inferences and deconstructing concepts were material items so the organizational structure is understandable (Clark, 2015).

Mashing

Mashing involves aggregating or integrating multiple sources of data within a single product or output, such as a video, report, feed, or collage of items. To design for mashing, ask learners to demonstrate their skills in analyzing by copying, inserting, embedding, or otherwise pasting various types of content into word-processing or presentation files that can be submitted for evaluation. Mashing inherently involves a degree of evaluating and creating, which are higher order cognitive skills in the revised taxonomy.

Linking

To design for linking, ask learners to compile related pages of content and a wiki, linked to relevant blog postings, or compile links in a document or other posting format demonstrating analysis of the content for selection in the compilation. By linking relevant items or groups of items, learners demonstrate the ability to deconstruct and differentiate multiple sources of information and break down the sources into coherent related components or categories.

Cracking

Otherwise known as reverse engineering, cracking occurs and applications based learning, such as in computer programming, software development, webpage designing, and all forms of engineering. To design for cracking, ask learners to reverse engineer an existing item by deconstructing or “cracking” the existing creation. Naturally, designers will want to consider the legalities of reverse engineering an existing item prior to assigning this type of activity.

Refer to Churches (2015) for more examples, including an example data processing rubric and exemplars.


 

Evaluating

Authentic activities demonstrating Evaluating include appraising information, people, or situations and making judgments, which could involve selecting effective solutions, conducting appropriate hiring of personnel, or explaining and justifying budgetary items (Clark 2015).

Commenting

To design for commenting, ask learners to contribute constructive critique or engage in a dialogue aimed toward negotiating meaning using a threaded discussion, comments on a blog, revisions to a wiki or shared document, or annotations of images or other forms of content. Submitting reflection comments using video, audio, images, and documents as the subject matter or means of reflection are effective was to demonstrate leaners’ cognitive ability with evaluating. Furthermore, posting comments and following up on contributions requires learners to evaluate the materials and contexts and structure interactions in meaningful and coherent ways through discussion.

Moderating

To design for moderating, ask learners to moderate an asynchronous discussion, act as a primary or co-editor in a wiki or shared document, or to appraise content by peers in another format to demonstrate cognitive skills at the evaluating level of the revised taxonomy. As Churches (2009) explained, part of the process of moderating is evaluating information from a variety of perspectives to assess the worth, value, and appropriateness of content according to a set of standards.

Collaborating

Although collaborating can occur at each level of the revised cognitive taxonomy, it is at the evaluating and creating levels that collaborative learning activities are best situated when designing activities. To design for collaborating, ask learners to participate in a small group project drawing on the collective understanding and analysis of peers for an outcome that is reflective of their individual and collective efforts. Effective collaborative activities involve the learner and evaluating strengths and abilities of collaborators as well as the quality of contributions.

Networking

To design for networking, ask learners to select an appropriate community from a variety of options, such as Facebook and LinkedIn groups, to discern the quality of the network and to evaluate its members for a specific purpose. As an extension, screen captures of engagement and the online community can serve as evidence during assessment of quality participation according to standards set forth by the designer or agreed-upon by the learners in advance of the activity.

Reviewing

To design for reviewing, ask learners to conduct an initial (i.e., beta) or final (i.e., alpha) test of an application, process, or procedure as part of an activity whereby they will demonstrate their abilities and evaluating according to a set of standards for the application, process, or procedure. Effective reviewing requires learners to analyze as well as evaluate the application, process, or procedure tested to determine correct functions and effectiveness.

Validating

To design for validating, ask learners to develop a set of criteria or select from an existing criteria set to evaluate online content, peer content, or other forms of content to discern the value, accuracy and appropriateness of that content. As Churches (2009) noted, “With the wealth of information available to students combined with the lack of authentication of data, students of today and tomorrow must be able to validate the veracity of their information sources” (p. 30). Although it may seem similar to reviewing, the validating activity will typically require a higher level of judgment and therefore evaluating of the content.

Refer to Churches (2009) for example rubrics and exemplars for validating information and threaded discussion.


 

Creating

Authentic activities demonstrating Creating, a form of synthesizing, involve building structures or patterns from various concepts or materials and forming a new concept or material with the emphasis on the creation of innovative meaning and structure (Clark 2015). By writing a manual for operations of processes, designing a mechanism or process for accomplishing a task, integrating solutions or ideas from various sources to solve problems, or revising processes effectively, Clark (2015) notes that learners are creating and thereby synthesizing, which is the highest level of cognitive ability represented in the revised cognitive taxonomy.

Directing

To design for directing, ask learners to plan for, develop, and direct or produce an artifact representing their learning. The outcome demonstrates creating because directing or producing requires learners to envision an outcome for processes and demonstrate the ability to evaluate and analyze alternative paths and outcomes in advance. Furthermore, reflective journaling about the creation process facilitates learning across all cognitive ability levels represented in the revised cognitive taxonomy.

Developing

To design for developing, think of multimedia as the primary means of output for demonstrating abilities. Ask learners to create with multimedia to demonstrate their innovative thinking about patterns and structures of content and/or processes. Filming, animating, videocasting, podcasting, and mixing  and remixing content, as well as the development of an image, audio file, or other media content, would qualify as a multimedia creation and demonstrate skills with developing which requires the highest level of cognition, creating, which necessarily relates to the synthesis of what the learner knows about the topic of their multimedia creation.

Publishing

To design for publishing, ask learners to pollution text, images, sounds, or a combination of these. The necessary oversight for quality of published material requires attention from the learner to the process of creation and the published outcome. Collaboration in small groups for publish content facilitates co-creation and negotiation, which are also higher order abilities requiring greater cognition from the learners. Publishing video, audio, images or diagrams, and text are examples of publishing activities possible with common web-based technologies. Mashing text and multimedia creations and innovative patterns and structures also demonstrates cognitive abilities at the level of creating in the revised cognitive taxonomy.

Programming

To design for programming, ask learners to create original applications, patterns, procedures, processes, or games. Learners might also demonstrate creating by revising an existing process or devising innovative solutions to existing problems with existing processes.

Refer to Churches (2009) for example rubrics and exemplars of podcasting and digital publishing.


References | Credits

This tutorial is an update by the author of the text of the tutorial she created in 2008:

Johnson, L. (2008). Bloom’s taxonomy – Designing activities [SWF file]. Retrieved from http://media.ccconline.org/ccco/FacWiki/TeachingResources/Blooms_Taxonomy_Tutorials/BloomsTaxonomy_Activities_Tabs/BloomsTaxonomyActivitiesTabs.swf

The content, examples, and design are original to Lisa Johnson, Ph.D. and were inspired from the following resources, which are referenced as additional resources in the tutorial:

Churches, A. (2009). Bloom’s digital taxonomy [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://edorigami.wikispaces.com/file/view/bloom’s+Digital+taxonomy+v3.01.pdf

Clark, D. (1999-2015). Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains. Retrieved from http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

Please cite this 2015 version of the tutorial as follows:

Johnson, L. (2015). Designing activities using the revised cognitive taxonomy [Weblog]. Retrieved from https://reflectivelearning.net/2015/06/26/designing-activities-using-the-revised-cognitive-taxonomy/

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