Still a very broad topic, but I have tried to start to put together a quick overview of some of the most important models of learning for quick reference:
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a categorisation of learning objectives when teaching. It was first described by a group of educators, led by Benjamin Bloom, in 1956. This was revised in 2001 by Anderson and Krathwohl et al. which improved on the Taxonomy to make it two dimensional - it is this categorisation that I describe below as I think it is the most useful.
The taxonomy has two dimensions; the knowledge domain, and the cognitive domain. The knowledge domain refers to the subject of the learning object (Krathwohl described it as the ‘noun’ of the learning objective). The cognitive domain refers to what is to be done to that subject (described as the ‘verb’ of the learning objective). E.g. The student will remember (cognitive domain) the dose of aspirin (knowledge domain). The student will understand (cognitive domain) the causes of shock (knowledge domain).
This categorisation allows a description of the subject of the learning. It can be split into 4 main categories:
Factual Knowledge - the basic elements of the topic
Knowledge of terminology
Knowledge of details and elements
Conceptual knowledge - how the basic elements of a topic relate to each other
Knowledge of classifications/categories
Knowledge of principles
Knowledge of theories/models
Procedural knowledge - how to do something
Knowledge of subject specific skills
Knowledge of subject specific techniques/methods
Knowledge of criteria for using specific techniques
Meta-cognitive knowledge - knowledge of cognitive processes, including one’s own
Knowledge about cognitive tasks
This categorisation allows a description of the approach to that subject. It is split into 6 different levels (with subdivisions) with increased complexity with each level:
Remember - retrieve factual knowledge from long term memory
Apply - carrying out in a given situation
Analyse - breaking it down into its constituent parts and detecting the relationship
Evaluate - making judgements
Create - putting elements together in a novel way
Although all aspects of the cognitive domain are important, it is perhaps the higher ones that are more the target of higher education, and this is particularly true of medical training programmes. The cognitive domain is also commonly represented as a pyramid, to demonstrate the increasing complexity and may also be compared to degrees of competence.
In terms of applying Bloom’s taxonomy to medical education, demonstrating the two domains in table form can be very useful. When plotting the learning objectives on this, is can visually demonstrate these outcomes nicely.
Links & References
1. Krathwohl, D. A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy: an overview. 2002. Theory into Practice. 41 (4). 212-216