Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Bloom’s Taxonomy

So it’s week two in the class, Facilitating Online Learning, with Nellie Deutsch, Ludmilla Smirnova, Diethild Starkmeth and Judith Behrens. There’s almost 1100 learners in the course. I’ve come into contact with maybe 80 in the webinars, Week 1: Enabling Learning and Week 2: Setting Goals and Learning Outcomes, and probably 40 or so in the Moodle discussion groups. There’s also a discussion group on Mahara, and on the Connecting Online 2013 Ning.

This week our assessment was to mull over, reflect on and make an artifact that addresses the topic “Setting Goals and Learning Outcomes.” The number of questions asked on the Week 2 PowerPoint was considerable. Here is a selection:

  1. What are learning outcomes?
  2. Who sets learning outcomes, teachers or students?
  3. What are some of the challenges and benefits of setting learning outcomes?
  4. How is Bloom’s Taxonomy connected to learning outcomes?
  5. What are assessments?
  6. What are some of the challenges and benefits of assessing learning outcomes?
  7. How do you decide how to assess your students?
  8. What do you base assessment on?

At the end of the class, we were all running to the virtual winds to begin to work on our “artifacts,” the presentation, blog, website, wiki, webpage, Prezi etc., that would show how we were personally reflecting on the questions we pondered in class. I’ve learned a lot from other people’s “Scoop It” pages in the past so I thought this would be my opportunity to set up a Scoop It on a topic on which I needed to learn more. Another reason is that when I am busy and I engage in social learning like this course, I tend to bring myself to it, my worries, my interests. While I learn from the facilitators and the other learners, I don’t always dive into the background materials, I don’t always revisit the texts listed in the course that I may have studied at Northern Illinois University thirty-five years ago when I did my master’s in higher education, and I don’t always spend time on searching out new texts or forcing myself to engage in some new thinking. I’m already reading several books, all on higher education, some on retention and enrollment, one on online teaching, one on the future of universities. I normally read a little bit at a time every once in awhile given my schedule so I anticipate being “in” the books I’m currently reading for a lot of months to come. In that context then, I thought that because Scoop It demands “curating,” anything that I chose to answer my questions would also have to be something I’d read before posting, watched before posting.

Optimistically I set up the last Scoop It in the list below, read the first thing I posted, and then realized I couldn’t “curate” learning outcomes without learning more about Bloom’s taxonomy or without finding out more about Bloom. So I started the topic listed first on the list below. Then I was thinking about Bloom’s Taxonomy, that list of verbs that guides program and course objective writers all over the world, and realized I didn’t know much about how other people were using it, whether they thought it was worth anything, how they revised it. So I started the second topic on the list below. And then finally when those two were filled in, I went back and finished the last topic on the list below.

It took me most of Saturday afternoon and evening–I woke up in the middle of a dream about the lists–and then most of Sunday morning. I watched probably five times as many videos as I posted, read through probably four times as many articles as I posted, and looked over probably three times as many websites as I posted. It was a really fascinating journey: I bookmarked a lot of resources to go back to, especially videos. Sigh … the downside of the upside …!

The first one is “So Who is Bloom and What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?”

The second one is: “How Many Ways Can We Describe and Revise Bloom’s Taxonomy?”

And the third one is: “Learning Outcomes and Assessment: Getting Bloomian in Higher Ed.”

Hope you enjoy them! If you sign up for Scoop.It you can suggest other items for all three.