Organizing learning outcomes by cognitive complexity.
When designing a course’s learning outcomes, it is important to understand the complexity of student tasks. For example, should students be able to compare two works of literature before they apply similar concepts to their own writing? Using a framework like Bloom’s helps determine the cognitive complexity of student tasks, whether there is variety of difficulty among learning outcomes and, if not, how to alter them to create variety.
Bloom’s Taxonomic Pyramid orders the levels of outcomes from the lowest order of cognition (remembering) to the highest (creating) (Krathwohl, 2002). In the following table we have given a brief description of what these levels mean, as well as example learning outcomes in a cooking class where students are learning to make omelettes.
|Level||Students can...||Examples for making an omelette in a culinary class|
Use elements to form an original product.
Construct a new recipe influenced by the ingredients of a specified country.
Make judgments based on criteria.
Argue for how a recipe might be improved.
Determine parts, their purpose and their relation to each other and the whole.
Compare two omelette recipes and predict how they will turn out.
Carry out a procedure in a given situation.
Demonstrate how to cook an omelette.
Describe how each ingredient contributes to an omelette.
Remember ingredients for French Omelette.
There are a several important points to note about levels of complexity.
To create a variety of appropriate learning outcomes for students:
Information page discussing the expansion of Bloom’s Taxonomy by Anderson et al. (2001) to include a cognitive process dimension, in addition to the knowledge dimension.
Interactive wheel illustrating Bloom’s levels of cognitive complexity, the verbs that align with each level of complexity and appropriate assessment techniques for each level.