Have you heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy?

As active adult learners, we must be conscientious about the what, how, and why we are reading a piece of literature. Being conscientious makes us more efficient, selective, and critical about what we learn. This in turn will help us to provide better care for our patients, which is after all our main goal.

Although mainly used to develop curricula, I believe that understanding Bloom’s taxonomy and applying it to our learning may help us to learn more effectively. Bloom’s taxonomy can help us identify learning objectives that require higher level of cognitive function, which helps us to be better problem solvers.

What is Bloom’s Taxomony?

In the late 1940’s, a group of educators lead by Benjamin Bloom was tasked to come up with education goals and objectives for thinking behaviors important in the learning process. Although developed in the 1940’s and 50’s, this classification has been revised several times and even adapted to reflect Social Media learning.
This taxonomy is composed of three domains:

  • Cognitive domain = knowledge based
  • Affective domain = attitude based
  • Psychomotor domain = skills based

Cognitive Domain

The first domain, Cognitive Learning, has six levels. Each has its own set of activities to demonstrate mastery. These levels range from higher order thinking skills (creating, top) to lower order thinking skills (remembering, bottom) on the reverse pyramid below.



A well-structured objective:
  • Focuses on the learning process
  • Is directed by a verb
  • Includes the word “you”

Examples of objectives: After reading a chapter or a primary literature on chest pain…

  • You will design a case in which a young man presents to the ED with a pneumothorax (Creating)
  • You will compare and contrast chest tube insertion between a pregnant patient and a young tall man (Analyzing)
  • You will explain the pathophysiology of tension pneumothorax (Understanding)
  • You will describe the process of chest tube insertion (Remembering)

What is Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy?

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy deals with how we can integrate the revised Bloom’s taxonomy with technology. It focuses on the quality of the process and product. The advantage is that the user is in control. This can also be thought of as the process of the student creating a Personal Learning Environment(PLE).



Example activities using Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy include:

  • Creating: blogging, wiki-ing, podcasting
  • Evaluating: blog commenting, networking, collaborating
  • Analyzing: linking, validating, media clipping
  • Applying: sharing, editing, loading
  • Understanding: advanced searches, categorizing, tweeting, subscribing
  • Remembering: social bookmarking, googling, favoriting


This is another example of integration between a well-established concept and technology to improve the process of learning. Learning in Social Media fits into the Bloom’s Taxonomy hierarchy of learning objectives.


Javier Benitez, MD

Javier Benitez, MD

ALiEM Featured Contributor
Javier Benitez, MD


Medical doctor, tweets not medical advice or endorsements. Interested in #MedEd & technology. Always learning. I'm no expert. No financial conflict of interest.
Javier Benitez, MD