How to Use the Six Levels of Bloom's Taxonomy for Corporate Training

2018.01.07 Fenix Bretz
Defining Crisp Learning Objectives

Learning is about influencing things such as attitude, mindset, intention and awareness so that in the end, the learner’s behaviour is developed and thus he/she is better positioned to perform the task at hand. We touched on this area in our ultimate guide to Bloom's taxonomy and explained how training should be tailored to suit the needs of the learners. In this post, we'll show you exactly how to use the six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy for corporate training. 

One problem with many of today’s L&D programs is that they are not determining the learning objectives, or if such objectives are defined, then too many times they are simply not expressed in a clear and crisp way Professor Saks suggests that as little as 50% of corporate training is actually transferred to organizational or individual improvements. This number is staggeringly low. A failure at the initial objective setting level seems to be part of the culprit here. This is paramount if you want to maximize the business impact of your training and development.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

The progression of understanding was perhaps most popularly proposed by Harold Bloom in his landmark 1956 classification system of learning. In its most basic sense, the taxonomy suggests the following: first off, there is the acquisition of basic knowledge, this then leads to a slightly deeper comprehension, as far as the value of said knowledge is concerned. Once learners understand, they can then apply and ultimately be able to step back and analyze that which has been learned. Finally, in bringing everything together, they are synthesizing and evaluating.

bloom's taxonomies


Now, as this relates to your training program, what we see here is a progression from basic level learning to a higher level cognition. Knowledge and comprehension ultimately beget the types of behavioural practices and the competencies that in terms of an employee training program will drive learning transfer and organizational performance.

How to apply Bloom's Taxonomy to Corporate Training Evaluation

With inspiration from Bloom’s Taxonomies and Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour, Kodo Survey provides a SaaS platform for evaluating the effectiveness of your training program. Taking into consideration the Kirkpatrick evaluation model, and KAIB™, we can evaluate training effectiveness.

KAIB™ stands for Knowledge, Attitude, Intention and Behavior. The principle here is that knowledge can change attitude, this new attitude and acquired knowledge can then shape intention, and finally, intentions created during learning, drive behaviour at work.

Now certainly, there are situations and conditions that can hinder this behavioural change, but if you diligently focus on conveying the knowledge, creating an attitude and shaping intention, your learners will have the best chance at success after the learning intervention.

KAIB

How to write learning objectives based on Bloom's Taxonomy

In order to impart knowledge and develop behaviour, you need to define your learning objectives. What’s more, you have to make sure these are easily understood and intuited by the employees. The word “crisp” is in the title of this article for a reason. You can generate all of the learning objectives that you want, but if they are convoluted and vague, the takeaway is going to be minimal.

Your objectives need to clearly specify what the learned skill should be and consequently how they are to apply this in a given situation. For instance, if your goal is to boost product sales, then your objective needs to align with this goal by way of teaching the particular sales skills such as active listening, needs assessment, focused questions, paraphrasing et cetera.

Prior to actually developing the objectives, you might want to take the time to connect the learning to the business objectives - creating your learning impact map. A learning impact map is basically a blueprint for your L&D program that helps ensure learners move in the right direction, acquire the necessary skills, adapt their behaviour and transfer their learning. The components of such a map mirror the hierarchical structure fo Bloom's Taxonomy as they involve:

  1. Identifying objectives and results,
  2. Outlining the behaviour needed to achieve said results,
  3. Defining the intentions, attitudes and knowledge that will drive behaviour and
  4. Defining the learning objectives of the program that will ensure the development of sought-after attitudes and the right intentions.

As you can clearly see, defining clear and crisp objectives every step of the way is a crucial part of creating a usable map that will help your L&D program have the greatest impact. When setting about to write such objectives you need to think about in which specific areas there is a training need (e.g. sales, customer service, technology and so forth). The objectives thus need to be tailored to a given niche.

From there, it is a matter of thinking about what your learners need to know, what attitudes need to be ingrained and what intentions fostered in order to bring about the desired behaviour or, correspondingly, behavioural change.

 

measurable learning objectives

 

When sitting down to draft these objectives, you also need to consider your vision versus the current state of affairs. Where are the gaps? Are there weaknesses prohibiting employees from attaining desired outcomes? Once you realize where such gaps exist, then make certain to address these in your newly defined objectives. Be concise and to the point: if there are bad practices and less-than-ideal behaviours evident, clearly specify that these need to be changed and replaced with what you see as the behaviour required to achieve company goals. Using actionable words in your objectives can certainly help employees to better comprehend your expectations. Take a look at our guide for more info around defining learning objectives suitable for measuring training effectiveness

Learning objectives for learning measurement

Kodo Survey helps you determine ROI and training effectiveness, and whether or not the skills taught are being used in the right way. The platform can show you if learning transfer is taking place and if in fact your learning intervention/ develops the right behaviours. But, in order to succeed with that you need to know what you want to achieve with your program and devote as much time needed to come up with high-quality learning objectives.

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References:

Saks, A. M., & Belcourt, M. (2006). An investigation of training activities and transfer of training in organizations. Human. Resource Management, 45(4), 629-648.

Saks, A. M. (2002). So what is a good transfer of training estimate? A reply to Fitzpatrick. The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, 39, 29–30

Want to know more?

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Now that we have used Kodo for a while, we see how easy it is to follow the learning impact and transfer of learning to the workplace. The insights we receive help us to continuously improve courses and programmes.

Kristoffer
Kristoffer Laag
HR Strategist