In the first part of this series, I provided a comprehensive list of learning objectives (LOs) for classes. I tried to ensure that this list wasn’t too exhaustive, making sure to consolidate repetitive and less significant objectives. In this part, we will order these objectives by cognitive complexity, starting from the lower levels and working towards the upper levels. There may be some verbs that overlap into other levels, but choose the level that most closely resembles what students will be doing and use that ordering. You can refer back to Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised to identify the level of Bloom’s to which your LOs belong. Should you have multiple objectives within the same level, you can further distinguish complexity by moving towards abstract thought in the Knowledge Dimension using the Taxonomy Matrix below.
The lower levels of the taxonomy work with foundational tasks where students are asked to memorize/recall, explain, and summarize. As we progress to higher levels, we have actions that require a deeper understanding of the topic such as justifying, assessing, designing, and constructing. Higher-level LOs require a fluency in the prior levels before they can be carried out with confidence.
Once we have our ordered list, we need to decide what objectives should be accomplished online in the pre-class activities, and which ones are best attended to in-class. For this, we really need to put ourselves in the shoes of our students. What prior knowledge and experience do they bring with them that can help them to achieve these LOs? Starting from the lowest level LO, we can start making our way through the list until we find the most complex task we can reasonably ask students to perform without much help. This task, and all of the tasks before it, should be the objectives in which students can achieve fluency during independent study.
Move to the next task and you’ve likely found the least complex task that students might struggle with. This and the remaining LOs are likely the ones in which students may need assistance from an expert, or their peers, in order to move towards mastery. In the next part of this series we will use this outline to plan our in-class content.
If you are enjoying this series I would urge you to register for our next SoTL event as Robert Talbert, author of Flipped Learning, discusses the roots, research, and future directions of flipped learning.