THE USAGE OF BLOOM’S TAXONOMY AS A PEDAGOGICAL TOOL FOR TEACHING WRITTEN BUSINESS COMMUNICATION

Introduction:
Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy (1956) is a multilayered model of classifying thinking according to six cognitive levels of learning propounded by Mr.Bloom. It is also referred as a stairway to learning. The concept is aligned with process of ingraining the thinking patterns of a learner. In other words the objective of bloom was to classify the thinking behaviors that were believed to be important in the process of learning.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired byBenjamin Bloom, who also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals (1956), although named after Bloom, the publication followed a series of conferences from 1949 to 1953, which were designed to improve communication between educators on the design of curricula and examinations[i].
It was initially segregated into three domains:
·         The Cognitive– knowledge based domain
·         The Affective- attitudinal based domain
·         The Psychomotor– skill based domain which is also known as KSA (knowledge, skills and attitude) or ASK (Attitude, skills and Knowledge)
The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills (Bloom, 1956). This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns, and concepts that serve in the development of intellectual abilities and skills. There are six major categories, which are listed in order below, starting from the simplest behavior to the most complex. The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. That is, the first ones must normally be mastered before the next ones can take place.
The next domain of learning is affective which refers to growth in feeling and emotional area. The categories in sync with affective is valuing, internalizing, responding and receiving phenomena. And the third and final domain of learning is psychomotor which refers to the manual or physical skills, the categories oriented to psychomotor skills are  adaptation, origin, perception to name a few.

Rationale/Background study
Bloom’s as a learning process.
Bloom’s Taxonomy in its various forms represents the process of learning. It has been simplified in some case like the Three Story Intellect (Oliver Wendell Holmes and Art Costa), but it still essentially represents how we learn.
Before we can understand a concept we have to remember it
Before we can apply the concept we must understand it
Before we analyze it we must be able to apply it
Before we can evaluate its impact we must have analyzed it
Before we can create we must have remembered, understood, applied, analyzed& evaluated.

Some people may argue about that you do not require some of the stages for each and every task, action or process; some too may argue about the necessity to reach the creation level for all activities. This is the choice of the individual.

You cannot understand a concept if you do not first remember it, similarly you cannot apply knowledge and concepts if you do not understand them. It is a continuum from Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) to Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).
Bloom describes each category as a gerund. They are arranged below in increasing order, from lower order to higher order[ii].
·         Remembering – Recognizing, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding
·         Understanding – Interpreting, Summarizing, inferring, paraphrasing, classifying, comparing, explaining, exemplifying
·         Applying – Implementing, carrying out, using, executing
·         Analyzing – Comparing, organizing, deconstructing, Attributing, outlining, finding, structuring, integrating
·         Evaluating – Checking, hypothesizing, critiquing, Experimenting, judging, testing, Detecting, Monitoring
·         Creating – designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making
Author’s Input:
This paper is an attempt to analyze the model in perspective of an educator. It revolves around using the three domains that is the cognitive, affective and psychomotor concept of learning to our current education.  The educators can inculcate the above said concept of learning by synchronizing the three domains of learning.
The cognitive based domain refers to the basic or fundamental concepts of any subject. With respect to this domain of learning, the curriculum and the course have to be designed by keeping in mind the importance of knowing the rudimental concepts tools and techniques. For instance, if it is the pedagogy of case analysis used in management education, problem solving tools like root-cause analysis techniques should be integrated. Thus the students tend to get a hold of the time tested tools that can used to analyze a case. Examples:Cause-Effect tool, 5 Why’s. Grid Analysis and Pareto Analysis
Next we refer to the affective aspect;the principle of attitudinal based domain knowledge which is a repository of feelings and emotions. Aligning to this domain of learning can be the ingraining of soft skills for the students, which is certainly the need of the hour. For instance the need to emphasize on positive attitude building, personal effectiveness, self – awarenessetc. falls into the purview of the affective factor, as the world believes in emotional quotient, spiritual quotient and the relationship quotient above and beyond the intelligence quotient the affective learning becomes very significant.
The third component is the psychomotor or skill based domain which refers to all the skill building. It can be the manual or physical skills and also the manipulative skills. Some of the skill based activities that can be incorporated in the academic sessions are the writing skills, presentation skills, decision makingskills, analytical skills and so on and so forth.Thus the three domains of learning can be incorporated in the contemporary education. Thus it becomes an educator’s tool.
Now the focus is on the other six levels of cognition that can be aligned to the learning process:
1.      Remembering
2.      Understanding
3.      Applying
4.      Analyzing
5.      Synthesis
6.      Evaluate
The highest three levels of learning according to Bloom was Analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating and the lowest three levels were knowledge, comprehension and application.
The new version of Bloom’s Taxonomy is where the names of the six categories from noun form are transformed to the verb forms. The following pictorial representation refers the old and the new version.
Bloom’s original cognitive taxonomy was one dimensional form but with the addition of products and the revised Bloom’s taxonomy becomes a two dimensional one. The revised bloom’s taxonomy places emphasis upon its use as a more authentic tool for the curriculum planning, Instructional delivery and assessment. The new taxonomy reflects a more active form of thinking and is perhaps more accurate.
Considering the above said levels of expertise, an attempt is made to connect with courses like written business communication and Oral communication which is a component of Soft skills, here is an attempt to use Blooms taxonomy as an enabler to align with the practical aspect of learning.
LEVEL
ATTRIBUTES
COURSE
OBJECTIVE
ACTIVITY/ASSESSMENT
Remembering
Recall, visualize
Written Business
 Communication
By the end of the course, the student shouldbe able to draft different kinds of letters.
Connecting to the nuances of the right language, style, tone, barriers in writing.
Understanding
Interpret, demonstrate
Understand different formats of formal letters
Using the techniques to remove writer’s block. For example administering word association test.
Applying
Solve, use
Writing different letters like sales letters, enquiry, memo, tenders, cover letter, complaint letter, adjustment letter, collection letters etc.
Drafting
Analyzing
Separating, sifting
Drafting
Basket of letters
Situation Reaction Test
Evaluating
Checking, experimenting
Writing
Thematic Apperception Test
Creating
Designing, planning
Review
Faculty Review
Conclusion
The approach of inculcating the course becomes more valid and productive when bloom’s taxonomy is applied. It was tested at ISME for the current batch of students who were in the first term and the outcome was fruitful. The write-up is based on the Author’s experiential learning.



[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_Taxonomy
[ii] http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2011/09/blooms-taxonomy-21st-century-version.htm
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