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How to Write Learning Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

All About Learning Objectives

Think back to the last eLearning course or training program you took.

Did the session begin with a long list of bullets outlining what you’d learn in the experience?

Chances are, it did.

And chances are also pretty good that whoever wrote the list called them “learning objectives.” 

We often see learning objectives set up in a predictable way: 

“After completing this course, learners should be able to…” followed by a list of bullets. 

Ideally, these bullets begin with verbs that detail what we should do with the information we’ll be learning, such as “Dance the macarena” or “Bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.” 

But more often than not, there’s a misalignment between the learning objectives and the learning content.

There tends to be a whole lot of information-dumping about the thing, and not nearly enough time spent practicing doing the thing.

For example, a workshop could provide a whole historical background about the history of the macarena, but if learners didn’t get a chance to see it danced–or to try dancing it themselves to get feedback–that’s going to be a problem if they’re asked to perform it. 

Especially if whoever commissioned the workshop is expecting competent macarena dancing from learners after they participated in the experience. 

As instructional designers and learning professionals, a key part of our roles involves creating learning objectives–aka goals–for a training program or learning experience. 

But because this is so often done poorly–if at all–just about everyone tends to scowl whenever they hear the word “training.” 

But fear not. Benjamin Bloom is here to help with his tip-top Taxonomy.

Find out more in the video below!

What’s Bloom’s Taxonomy? 

Created by Benjamin Bloom in the 1950’s, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a way of classifying learning objectives for educational and training situations. 

Bloom’s helps us design effective learning experiences by first identifying what we expect learners to do with the information after the training is over, and then building our content around those goals. 

For example:

Do we expect beginning art students to simply remember a piece of information–such as the fact that Michelangelo sculpted the David between 1501 and 1504 in Florence, Italy?

Or do we expect them to create a sculpture of their own from a raw piece of marble after a single lesson? 

By using Bloom’s–and also by communicating well with our stakeholders–we can figure that out in advance and design our curriculum accordingly.

This level-setting helps course designers and learners alike. 

By clearly establishing learning objectives from the get-go, we’re creating measurable goals for learners to reach–while also providing ourselves with a clear map forward to design content that gets them there.

We can then build the curriculum around these goals to:

  • Creating the conditions for learners to receive the information required;
  • Get practice with feedback taking the actions we want them to take;
  • Demonstrate their competency in reaching these goals.

(Macarena dance-off, anyone?)

In essence, Bloom’s is beautiful. Let’s explore why. 

The Basics of Bloom’s 

Bloom’s taxonomy is broken into three domains or types of learning: 

  • Cognitive
  • Affective
  • Psychomotor

Beyond that, Bloom’s is broken into six categories of learning, which tend to be what instructional designers think of when we’re creating our learning objectives. 

Here they are: 

  • Remembering
  • Understanding 
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating 

These categories build up from the bottom of the pyramid from least to most sophisticated.

Let’s double-click into each to explore. 

Remembering

This refers to a learner’s ability to recall and know facts about specifics. Remembering acts as the foundation for all higher-level thinking. 

To create learning objectives around Remembering, use verbs like: identify, list, define, and recognize. 

Understanding 

This refers to a learner’s ability to comprehend the knowledge they’ve attained. At this level, learners have grasped meaning from the material and can translate that knowledge into a new context. 

To create learning objectives around Understanding, use verbs like: compare, summarize, tell, and explain.

Applying

This refers to the learner’s ability to use knowledge in new settings, or using information learned in new ways to solve problems.

To create learning objectives around Applying, use verbs like: apply, use, demonstrate, and classify

Analyzing 

This refers to the learner’s ability to break down information into parts, identify patterns, and interpret the data for meaning. 

To create learning objectives around Analyzing, use verbs like: analyze, order, examine, and connect

Evaluating 

This refers to the learner’s ability to evaluate information based on personal judgments and opinions about its value or significance in a particular situation or context.

To create learning objectives around Evaluating, use verbs like: evaluate, measure, determine, rate

Creating 

This refers to the learner’s ability to generate new ideas, solutions, or products. This is the most complicated of the categories, and therefore sits at the top.  

To create learning objectives around Creating, use verbs like: design, invent, modify, and rearrange.

How can you create learning objectives with Bloom’s?

Using Bloom’s to craft learning objectives is both an art and a science. There’s a formula to follow, but there’s also a little room for improv, too. 

Here are three steps to take next time you receive a project request.

1. What’s the goal?

What does the learner need to be able to do after completing this learning experience? Visualizing them taking the action may help.

Chances are you’ll have a handful of goals. Pick one, and that’s your starting point.

2. What it’s level?

Where does that action fall on the pyramid? Find the corresponding level.

Where should you aim? It depends on the goals.

Cathy Moore suggests shooting for at least one learning objective bullet that involves “application” or higher will help you create a more dynamic learning experience.

(Think back to the macarena example. Stopping at the first or second category would be zero fun!) 

3. What’s your verb?

Which word from that level’s category can you use to narrow down your goal into a measurable learning objective? Is there a different synonym that could make your LO even more LO-VELY?

There are countless Bloom’s cheat sheets online.

My advice? Do some searching and find a cheat sheet you like–then bookmark it and refer back during the Analysis and Design phase of ADDIE. 

What’s the TL; DR on Bloom’s Taxonomy? 

Bloom’s is an essential framework for all learning professionals to use during the early-on stages of course development.

Thinking thoughtfully about our end-goal for a learning experience helps us map out our content

Bloom’s let us level-set with learners from the get-go about what we expect them to be able to do after completing the training. 

Then it’s up to us to build something that helps them achieve that goal. 

It’s no small feat, but with Benjamin’s help… we can do it!

LXD and User Personas: Why Empathy is the Key to Successful Design

Personas are widely used across creative fields to build meaningful solutions for users.

So, why is training so late to the game?

I have thoughts about why we’re so slow up on the uptake (mostly💸), but it’s not too late to start! In fact, I’d argue that digging deep to build empathy with users from the get-go is probably *the* best investment we can make in the corporate world.

If done right, it *will* deliver returns.

Why?

Because our courses, programs, and learning experiences ARE products! Our learners ARE customers!

We owe it to them AND to stakeholders to be sure we’re building things folks need AND want to use. (That part is super key.)

To design and build meaningful learning solutions, we have to get to know our learners.

And I mean really know them.

Because contrary to popular stakeholder opinion, our users aren’t just employees.

They’re multifaceted people with lives outside of work. They have personalities, goals and frustrations we need to consider *and solve for* in our designs.

And if we don’t, whatever we’ve built is likely be completely ignored—destined to become dusty, untouched inventory, despite our good intentions.

And that’s no good for anyone.

So, how do we fix this?

My thoughts on how to approach personas from an LXD lens—plus a few other hot takes—in the video. 😎

This is Part 2 of 3 of my LXD mini series. I hope y’all enjoy! (Part 3 coming… soon.)

What is LXD?

The training industry is evolving.

L&D and other learning folks are shifting away from instructional design and moving toward learning experience design.

Many of us have seen the letters or seen the acronym LXD.

But what exactly does it really MEAN to embody a learning experience design approach to creating content?

Is there a big difference between being an ID and an LXD, or is it just a rebrand of the same core components?

In short, there’s a HUGE difference.

It’s night/day, and it’s not at all just about repackaging ourselves and our skillsets.

It’s about shifting our entire mindsets to design with our learners at the forefront of every experience.

In the below video, I walk through:

  • What is the difference between ID and LXD?
  • What is a learning experience?
  • How is a learning experience different from an eLearning course?
  • What kind of work is involved in learning experience design?
  • What kind of skills does an LXD need to have?
  • And more!

This is the first of three videos in this LXD Low-Down Series, where I share all I know about the LXD industry and how we as instructional designers can evolve our skillsets, mindsets, and resumes to become (and remain!) competitive in the LXD and ID job marketplace.

Like this video?

Parts 2 and 3 will be released soon!! Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, if you have thoughts about LXD vs. ID, I’d be eager to hear from you.

Feel free to post a comment below.

All the best,

Kathy

Color Meaning: Purple 🔮

In the Color Meaning Basics series, we’ll dive into 12 of the colors to learn a little more about each, including what they mean, where you see them, and how to use them.

Indulge in a bit of royalty.

What’s the meaning behind purple?

Purple represents luxury and mystery.

As a royal color, it also oozes richness and sophistication.  Purple possesses a sensuality unmatched by any other color.

Versatile, it can be used to symbolize anything from dignity to indulgence. It’s pure creativity.

Which brands use purple in their palettes?

You’ll see purple featured as a primary color in Cadbury, Hallmark, Wonka, and more.

When should you use purple in your design work?

Use purple to imply luxury, indulgence, and regality. It’s soft but powerful; luxurious but even-tempered.

You can use it to convey richness, mystery, indulgence.


Want to explore purple even further?

Brand colors are deeply rooted in color psychology—which colors evoke which feelings and why. For this reason, the palettes you pick have a big impact on your projects and overall message.

Whether you’re building a brand of your own, or simply designing with brand guides for other companies, having a foundational understanding of what the colors mean will help you tell a stronger story.

If you’d like to learn more, come check out Branding 101: Color Meaning Basics!

This is a blended course hosted on our private learning community on Mighty Networks, with a self-guided on-demand course (which you can take at any time) and a quarterly Zoom meet up, which you can attend once (or many times!).  

NOTE: As thank you for your support, I’m offering this as a gifted experience through 2022. Any and all donations received will be distributed among the creative team for their great work on this project! You are also welcome to join for free and share with anyone you think may like this.

Color Meaning: Light Blue🌊

In the Color Meaning Basics series, we’ll dive into 12 of the colors to learn a little more about each, including what they mean, where you see them, and how to use them.

Go with the flow.

What’s the meaning behind light blue?

Light blue represents tranquility, openness, and trust.

It’s calm and reassuring, offering a gentle friendliness and innocence. It is bright but understated.

It tends to instill a sense of ease and peace—like a seascape or clear sky.

Which brands use light blue in their palettes?

You’ll see light blue featured as a primary color in Secret, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield, Dasani, and more.

When should you use light blue in your design work?

If you’re aiming to generate feelings of calm or happy, light blue is for you.

It’s inviting—but not quite as invigorating as yellow.

You’ll often find light blue used to evoke feelings of ease or peace—conveying the stress-free vibes of blue skies or a tropical vacay.

Want to explore light blue even further?

Brand colors are deeply rooted in color psychology—which colors evoke which feelings and why. For this reason, the palettes you pick have a big impact on your projects and overall message.

Whether you’re building a brand of your own, or simply designing with brand guides for other companies, having a foundational understanding of what the colors mean will help you tell a stronger story.

If you’d like to learn more, come check out Branding 101: Color Meaning Basics!

This is a blended course hosted on our private learning community on Mighty Networks, with a self-guided on-demand course (which you can take at any time) and a quarterly Zoom meet up, which you can attend once (or many times!).  

NOTE: As thank you for your support, I’m offering this as a gifted experience through 2022. Any and all donations received will be distributed among the creative team for their great work on this project! You are also welcome to join for free and share with anyone you think may like this.