Unit 4, week 2

October 12-18

Integrated Course Design, continued

Estimated Time to Complete
 Instruction  2 hrs
 Assignments  6 hrs
 Collaboration  2 hrs


Educators have tried for decades to describe and classify learning. One of the most well-known and often-used schemas is Bloom’s Taxonomy for the Cognitive Domain, authored in 1956. Bloom’s taxonomy lists six categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  The Fink text provides its own list of categories for significant learning (see “What makes learning significant?”, pages 29—32).  The book  Understanding by Design  presents  Six Facets of Understanding, summarized in a White Paper by co-author  Jay McTighe. Excerpt quoted here:

In UbD, we have  identified six facets of understanding for assessment purposes. When someone truly  understands, they:

  • Can   explain concepts, principles and processes; i.e., put it their own words;  teach it to others; justify their answers; show their reasoning.
  • Can   interpret; i.e. make sense of data, text and experience through images,  analogies, stories and models.
  • Can apply; i.e., effectively use and   adapt what they know in new and complex  contexts.
  • Demonstrate   perspective; i.e., can see the big picture and recognize different  points of view.
  • Display   empathy; i.e., perceive sensitively and “walk in someone else’s shoes.’
  • Have   self-knowledge; i.e., show meta-cognitive awareness, use productive  habits of mind, and reflect on the meaning of their learning and experience.

In your reading for this week, compare these three similar–but unique–taxonomies: Bloom’s Taxonomy for the Cognitive Domain, Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning, and UbD’s Six Facets of Understanding.  Additionally, read the article below, describing how Bloom’s Taxonomy was revised in the 1990s.

(Note: The pdf link above includes a series of articles; you’re only required to read the first one.)

Consider how these taxonomies might be useful in your specific content area (the subject you’ve chosen for your lesson plan). What will it look like when your students “understand” the concepts you’re teaching? What will they be able to do? In addition to the different categories of understanding, what  levels of mastery  will your students need to achieve? What distinguishes an expert from a novice in this subject?

Learning Activity One

Design a concept map to illustrate layers of understanding in your chosen subject. This is a brainstorming activity, intended to help you situate the lesson plan you’re developing within the larger context of your subject. You may use software of your choice or you may draw your concept map on paper and scan it. These are free online sites for creating concept maps:

Learning Activity Two

Explore these two interpretive tools related to Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Write three learning objectives for your project-based lesson plan. Use the readings and tools above to inform the syntax of your objectives.

Reflection and Writing

In your writing post this week, discuss the value of taxonomies for defining student learning, with specific examples from your subject area. Attach your learning objectives and concept map. (Don’t forget to provide the title or topic of your lesson plan.) It is particularly important that you review classmates’ posts this week and provide feedback on their learning objectives. Identifying outcomes and writing clear objectives is a challenging task; I’m confident you will all benefit by giving and receiving critique on this assignment!