Daily Archives: November 8, 2011

A New Taxonomy in Education

Many times since August, 2010 I have reiterated what Dr. Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services, wrote in the IMLS 2010 publication The Future of Museums and Libraries: A Discussion Guide that, “… the delivery of library … services will be impacted by technology, education reform, and societal … changes …”
A statement of the challenges facing public libraries does not get much more succinct than that – technology, education reform, and societal changes.

Many tend to think 21st Century Skills is the major movement in education to transition from the industrial model to the information age model for schools. I just became aware that there is another significant theory shift for education, one that moves beyond Bloom’s Taxonomy of the 1950s, and toward a new cognition of a new generation that no longer fits that industrial mold.

Quick review – according to our friends at Wikipedia,

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom who also edited the first volume of the standard text,

It refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains”: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education. [Emphasis added.]


Robert Marzano, a highly respected educational researcher, has published The New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.

Audio overview by Marzano.

Developed to respond to the shortcomings of the widely used Bloom’s Taxonomy and the current environment of syllabus guidelines-based instruction, Marzano’s model of thinking skills incorporates a wider range of factors that affect how students think and provides a more research-based theory to help teachers improve their students’ thinking.

Marzano’s New Taxonomy is made up of three systems and the Knowledge Domain, all of which are important for thinking and learning. The three systems are the Self-System, the Metacognitive System, and the Cognitive System. When faced with the option of starting a new task, the Self-System decides whether to continue the current behavior or engage in the new activity; the Metacognitive System sets goals and keeps track of how well they are being achieved; the Cognitive System processes all the necessary information, and the Knowledge Domain provides the content.

One of the numerous tenets of Marzano’s New Taxonomy includes Knowledge Utilization. As an example of a new theory of education;

The final level of cognitive processes addresses the use of knowledge. … The processes of using knowledge are especially important components of thinking for project-based learning since they include processes used by people when they want to accomplish a specific task. Decision-making, a cognitive process involves the weighing of options to determine the most appropriate course of action. Problem-solving occurs when an obstacle is encountered on the way to achieving a goal. Sub-skills for this process include identification of and analysis of the problem. Experimental inquiry involves generating hypotheses about physical or psychological phenomena, creating experiments, and analyzing the results. Third graders designing bean plant experiments and analyzing ideal conditions for growth are conducting experimental inquiry. For more information on this project, see the Unit Plan, The Great Bean Race. [Emphasis added.]

Make no mistake about it – education reform is progressing! Education reform, in combination with technology advances and societal changes, will change the environment of the library and thus librarianship in terms of the customer who seeks – or doesn’t seek – library services. If you’re not ready to embrace the changes of the 21st Century Library………

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