In past blog posts, we've explored how to set up the steps of an effective and engaging lesson, using Gagné's Nine Events of Instruction.
And we've looked at how to use Bloom's Taxonomy to make anything easier to learn.
I've put these two frameworks together
to create an integrated schematic I call
THE LINE OF UNDERSTANDING
The line of understanding represents the points at which
the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy (on the vertical axis)
meet the steps of Gagné's 9 Events of Instruction (on the horizontal axis).
Bloom's (Revised) Taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy describes what the learner IS ABLE TO DO at each level of a hierarchy of thinking skills.
These skills build on each other from the most foundational ("REMEMBER") to the most complex ("CREATE").
In order to ensure your learners' success, it's important to confirm they are capable of performing the skill you are teaching, at each level of the hierarchy, before you ask them to perform at a higher level.
Skipping levels of the taxonomy leaves gaps that learners can easily fall through, if they don't have a solid foundation (built on the skill levels below) to support them.
Here is an all-too-common scenario: the instructor demonstrates their OWN expert way of doing something (mastered over a lifetime!) and then turns to the class and says, "Now YOU do it!". That is a method that is doomed to fail.
Learners cannot create something new (the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy) based on having seen it presented once!
They may REMEMBER the information, and they may UNDERSTAND it, but that does not mean they are ready to APPLY it, let alone analyze it, evaluate it, or use it to CREATE something new.
Gagné's Nine Events of Instruction
What's the solution?
For any skill you are teaching, you can use Gagné's Nine Events of Instruction to clarify how to structure your teaching to ensure learners can perform the skill at every level of Bloom's (Revised) Taxonomy.
At first, it might not seem clear how the two frameworks can be synthesized, because Bloom's (Revised) Taxonomy has six levels, which don't correlate perfectly with the nine events of instruction.
The secret to fitting the frameworks together smoothly, like cogs in a flywheel, is to realize that the first level of Bloom's Taxonomy, REMEMBER, is so important and foundational to everything above it, that it requires not one but THREE of Gagne's Events of Instruction, to ensure it is happening!
Similarly, learning to APPLY the instruction in practical ways is so important that it requires TWO of Gagné's 9 events of instruction (Guided Practice, and Independent Performance) to make it work.
If you realize that EVERYTHING that takes place before you present the new instruction in your lesson is designed to help your learners REMEMBER what they need to know in order to learn the new material, and that being able to APPLY what was just learned requires extra support, the two frameworks snap into place neatly like the missing pieces of a complex jigsaw puzzle... closing any gaps that your learners might otherwise fall through.
In order for learners to be able to do the things
indicated along the left (vertical) axis of the diagram,
the instructor must do the things
indicated in the corresponding color along the horizontal axis of the diagram.
So if you want your learners to REMEMBER, you must:
If you want them to UNDERSTAND, you must:
If you want them to be able to APPLY the instruction, you must:
If you want them to be able to ANALYZE what they are learning, you must:
If you want learners to be able to EVALUATE what they have learned, you must:
If you want them to be able to CREATE something new, you must:
Here is a chart that summarizes and synthesizes these ideas.
You can use it to ANALYZE and EVALUATE the steps you must take to present your instruction
in ways that ensure your learners stay with you every step of the way,
and don't fall through any gaps in the learning hierarchy.
Does the Line of Understanding offer you a helpful framework for thinking about how to present the instruction in your online course, to ensure your course participants are learning, every step of the way?
I'd love to hear your thoughts, reflections, experiences, and reactions!
Drop me a note to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com to share your thoughts.