6 Alternatives To Bloom’s Taxonomy For Teachers

This post is updated from an article we published in April.

At the end of the day, teaching is about learning, and learning is about understanding.

And as technology evolves to empower more diverse and flexible assessments forms, constantly improving our sense of what understanding looks like–during mobile learning, during project-based learning, and in a flipped classroom–can not only improve learning outcomes, but just might be the secret to providing personalized learning for every learner.

This content begs the question: why does one need alternatives to the established and entrenched Bloom’s? Because Bloom’s isn’t meant to be the alpha and the omega of framing instruction, learning, and assessment. Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy does a brilliant job of offering “verbs” in categories that impose a helpful cognitive framework for planning learning experiences, but it neglects important ideas, such as self-knowledge that UbD places at the pinnacle of understanding, or the idea of moving from incompetence to competence that the SOLO taxonomy offers.

So with apologies to Bloom (whose work we covered recently), we have gathered five alternatives to his legendary, world-beating taxonomy, from the TeachThought Simple Taxonomy, to work from Marzano to Fink, to the crew at Understanding by Design.



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  1. Heather Edick says

    Wow! This is an incredible post, chock-full of resources. Thank you.

  2. Jon says

    I would like to just state that all other approaches can be used along with the Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom’s helps you make sure that the lessons utilizes a wider variety of activities that use more thinking skills. (More than rote memorization) Even if I use and ipad or technology can I use an activity that requires some form of creation, choice making, etc… as opposed to simply clicking an icon?

  3. John Walkup says

    The fifth chart (the DOK wheel) is not an accurate representation of Depth of Knowledge and has no support from the creator of DOK, Norman Webb. He discourages its use and has stated that he finds little purpose in using it. I find its appearance damaging to professional development in curricular rigor. karin Hess, possibly the most experienced professional developer in Depth of Knowledge calls it the Wheel of Misfortune and suggests that educators simply toss it.

  4. John R. Walkup says

    I don’t know why they this blog still offers the DOK Wheel of Misfortune as a viable chart. Norman Webb offers his view on it here: http://tinyurl.com/qabx4o7

    1. terryheick says

      Thanks for the info. I include it because I use it as a teacher, flawed as it may be. It works for me.

      1. John R. Walkup says

        It’s not that it’s flawed — it’s wrong. If you find it useful, then I would suggest calling it a modified Bloom’s Taxonomy, because that is essentially what it describes.

        1. terryheick says

          If it’s used to fragment thinking, aggregate power verbs, brainstorm assignments, or offer learning strategies, it can’t be “wrong.”

          1. John R. Walkup says

            None of that is expressed in the chart. Instead, we have a list of verbs for each DOK level when no such mapping exists.

          2. terryheick says

            Then it’s possible we’re talking about different charts.

          3. John R. Walkup says

            I’m talking about this one: dok-depth-of-knowledge.jpg

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