Using Blooms Taxonomy to Map The Learning Journey

In this blog, I am going to show you step-by-step, how you can use Blooms taxonomy to map the learning journey for your learners/performers/colleagues. How this will help you is, it will give you clarity in designing programmes and how to stage the learning so as not to overwhelm participants. It will help you to create robust learning objectives that will be linked to the improved performance of those participants on the learning journey.

For longer programmes, when writing objectives, you may be revisiting the same subject on a number of different occasions.  So, do you just have one objective or a number of objectives to cover the different stages of the learning journey? I would suggest the latter. The objectives need to build up logically, the knowledge, skills and attitudes along that journey.

During the programmes I deliver, working with trainers, facilitators or subject matter experts, I help participants on a learning journey to creating robust objectives, knowing that this helps greatly in design. I do this in stages:

  1. Introduce the thought that it is hard to write SMART objectives without some extra help – I use Robert Mager’s PCS framework. Before they can even start though, they have to be able to differentiate between aims, organisational objectives, performance objectives and learning objectives/outcomes.

Learning Objective: In a group activity correctly match the definitions, with the terms and examples, without the use of notes.

  1. Draw attention to the table of objective verbs and the reason for their classification. Discuss which verbs you should avoid using and why.

Learning Objective: As a group list at least 5 words or phrases that you should never use when setting robust objectives

  1. For a given topic explore how learning can be a mixture of knowledge, skills and attitudes according to Blooms Taxonomy.
  2. It is important you know which level of Blooms taxonomy this specific group of people need to achieve. Not all roles require learning to the same level.
  3. Walk through the Blooms taxonomy examples for each domain

Learning Objective: In your small groups determine for the case studies given, the correct domain and level of learning that is required

  1. Watch the video on objective setting and take them through the slides on Robert Mager’s PCS framework.

Learning Objective: Individually, with the use of notes write 1 learning objective on a given topic using Robert Magers PCS framework.

The first step for you, in creating great objectives, is to map the learning journey and you can use Blooms Taxonomy to help map that journey.

Here is a diagram showing Blooms taxonomy. There will be references to this in the examples I will walk you through.

 

 

 

This diagram was taken from my book “How Not To Waste your Money On Training”.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of examples to show you how you might map the learning journey, using Blooms taxonomy.

The first example is for customer service skills in a call centre:

  1. At the induction, participants learn about your customer service charter (knowledge domain – level 1 and attitudinal, level 1).
  2. From conversation with their line manager, expectations of the role are discussed. They are given their objectives and asked to describe how that might apply to their role (knowledge domain, levels 2 – 3).
  3. They observe some live calls from their colleagues and make notes about what went well and what might be even better if….? (knowledge domain, levels 2 – 3).
  4. They buddy up with an experienced colleague in their new role, who observes them during their practice sessions and gives feedback (skill domain, level 1 – 2, attitudinal domain level 2).
  5. They attend a workshop on handling objections where they get to stretch their thinking and practice some new techniques (knowledge domain level 3, skill level 2-3, attitudinal level 2-3).
  6. Once a month they are observed/recorded and they critique their own performance as well as get feedback (knowledge domain level 4, skill level 3, attitudinal level 3).
  7. In their line manager conversations, they discuss the impact of some of the feedback, how it might change their behaviours and why (attitudinal domain, level 4).

Let us now look at a practical example of being able to write good witness statements.

  1. They look at a (good)sample witness statement and learn to identify the component parts (knowledge domain – levels 1-2).
  2. They look at a bad witness statement and are able to spot the errors (knowledge domain – level 3 or 4).
  3. Learn about questioning skills and have a practice at using them (knowledge domain, levels 1-3 and skills – level 1).
  4. What are the legal requirements of a witness statement and the conditions under which it should be taken? (knowledge domain level 3)
  5. How should you prepare to make a statement? (knowledge domain, level 3 attitudinal level 2).
  6. Practice interview skills (skills domain, level 3).
  7. Observe someone else doing an interview and assess their statement as to whether it is acceptable (knowledge domain, level 4).
  8. Conduct an interview in a role play and score well on the observation sheet (skill domain, level 3, attitudinal level 3).

Below is another diagram showing Blooms taxonomy examples. Once your journey has been mapped, you can use the relevant verbs and Robert Magers’ PCS framework, to create robust objectives for each part of that journey.

Training online – a new reality

Nobody can say that the last 7 months have been easy on anyone. We have all been in a storm, handling it all in our own ways. Some have lost their health, livelihoods and loved ones. Most all of us have lost a way of life that seemed unshiftable. No one could have predicted this and yet here we are.

When I look at my unmoved and unemptied training bag at the side of my room, I wonder why I have chosen not to empty it? To accept that I will not for some time be delivering face to face? Is it denial? Hope? Maybe a mixture of those things as well as where to put this physical “stuff” that has been such a part of what I do for so many years.

I love being with people and the online world is sometimes not the substitute I would like it to be. No hugs, side jokes, banter in the way it used to be. It can however offer so much more than we often expect of it.

Here we are and as an optimist and someone who is grateful to be back in the saddle after a gap a few months ago, I am grateful. Grateful for the opportunities presenting themselves. Grateful for the people I can help in this difficult situation. Grateful to be conversing, discussing, designing and doing what I love to do: help people on their journey of development.

The reality of delivering online is that it takes practice, patience and confidence. Preparation for me is key and just to give you a little insight into how I prepare, below is a picture of my desk set up.

Do have a look at the picture below – it will give you a lot of insights into what it takes for me to prepare:

Here are just a few things I thought it best to mention:

  • Paper session plan so I can minimise the stuff on my screen
  • Paper workbook to scribble things on and refer to easily for the participants
  • Paper to write notes and thoughts and actions on
  • Post-its to remind me of important things and also to enjoy the session – I love what I do, but in the anxious moments before they arrive, I may forget that!
  • Lipstick, water, tissues and hand cream at the ready!
  • I have a stand up – sit down, desk so I can be energised and feel like I am on my feet ready to ‘perform’

Today I bottled out of using my second screen in favour of using my ethernet cable – a little security blanket and in an area where our internet is pretty good. It made me less anxious at least to know the internet would not blob!

So anyone out there preparing to deliver online. Let’s be human about it. Things will go wrong and so plan for the worst but expect the best so your participants feel like they are getting a valuable experience and you get some enjoyment out of it.

Be easy on yourself and don’t try too many new things at once. Practice what you are comfortable with and maybe enlist the support of a colleague on your first few sessions, until you find your feet.

Mostly don’t ignore the creativity you used when you were doing this face to face. Don’t discard your valuable experience and skills in the face to face world. They are still valid, they just need a tweak!

Relax….. practice……. Enjoy!

L&D – how do we evolve?

On a Thursday I have decided to ponder….. #ThoughtfulThursday if you like…….

…….and today I am thinking about some choices that we can make in this time of reset/recovery/readjustment (delete as applicable) to make our profession the best it can be.

A couple of years ago I wrote about the Learning Loop Approach. Please see the picture below and read this document if you would like to know more.

 

Yesterday I came across an unfinished diagram and rather than finishing it myself, I wondered if the wonderful network of L&D professionals that I am connected with could finish or amend it with me. So if you are up for a bit of virtual collaboration then click on this link to join my collaboration space on MURAL.

If you have never been on MURAL before then please watch this video to help you orientate yourself around the canvas.

 

 

 

 

What makes you mad?

I am not an angry person but on occasions there are some things that genuinely make me mad!

I love my profession and I know that it is not perfect but why are we still designing and delivering programmes, then thinking about evaluation when we have finished delivery?

I sort of know the answer to that, but would love to hear some of your thoughts too. What really stops us from demonstrating the value we deliver though learning?

One of the reasons I wrote my book “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training” was to provide a simple step-by-step guide of how to set yourself up for success in L&D. I had noticed in my 30+ years in L&D and the last 12+ years in developing people in the profession, that L&D professionals sometimes do not know where to start when it comes to doing an analysis of needs BEFORE embarking on the learning journey. In this way, they would know where they are headed and when finished could measure the effectiveness.

Some knew where to start, but didn’t have the analytical skills or confidence to find evidence to support why they might implement a learning solution. Some did not know how to engage with the organisation to get a clear focus on what the performance outcomes might be. 

During this pandemic, when resources are stretched and tensions high in our organisations, we should be embracing the opportunity to reset and recalibrate what we do in L&D, shouldn’t we?

A couple of weeks ago Kevin M.Yates spoke at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum about “How to Solve Mysteries like an L&D Detective”.  Below is a visual summary of his session. What I found particularly helpful are the 6 questions you should ask before embarking on an L&D project. The least  anyone can do is ask those questions.  If  you cannot answer all of them with a “yes” then I would recommend my book  “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training “

So what makes you mad? I would love to know…..

 

Agile and L&D

As a former IT trainer and programmer (in my engineering career) I was fascinated by anything which helped me to programme more efficiently.

I learned to programme back in the early 80’s when we were still using punch cards so the fewer lines of code, the shorter your stack and the less impact of accidentally dropping them. Elastic bands were considered an essential piece of kit in programming back then!

Having been at the start of when object oriented programming emerged, it was a time when reusing and repurposing efficient bits of code was at the forefront of everyones mind. AGILE was just emerging in the late 1990’s as a way to manage IT projects against a back drop of increasing storage (and lack of punch cards!) It was heralded as an innovative way to ensure speed of delivery as well as producing a minimum viable product to allow for testing and feedback. This was seen to be a much more efficient way to produce the millions of lines of code that were often required.

In the last few years I have heard more and more about what AGILE means in the L&D space and I had my own take on it when I spoke at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum in 2018. What I shared back then, still stands, I believe. It goes beyond pure methodologies in rapid design and looks at why we should align ourselves with the organisation to deliver learning products that deliver on what the organisation and the learners both need. 

 

Here are the 4 key points for L&D:

  1. ‘Infiltrate’ the organisation, by getting know what its goals are and understanding what the priorities should be. Network like mad to get to know the right people to connect with. Dig deeper into the data to dine areas of concern and don’t take one data point or source as being gospel!
  2. From the networking then determine which stakeholders you need to spend most time with by doing a stakeholder analysis.
  3. Set clear outcomes that are important to your stakeholders so that they will measure! Make sure your line managers are aligned to these outcomes too! keep your eyes not he prize!
  4. Listen to what is going on  then encourage and feedback.

You can find out more about this from my book “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training “

Just recently I attended the CIPD Festival of Work and was really interested in Carlo Beschi’s talk on “Agile Methodologies to Create Responsive Learning”. This is my visual summary on his session:

What I took from this for my own business is to start small and have a few iterations, gaining feedback to:

  1. Gauge interest
  2. Iron out glitches
  3. Test out the platform

I have done this for my online course “Creating Beautiful Visual Notes” – it is in the pilot stage at the moment, getting feedback and when the final product emerges in a few weeks it will hopefully have some of the glitches ironed put.

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