Union Institute and University

Taxonomies of Learning

What is a taxonomy?

Taxonomies are classifications that organize or group concepts for better study and understanding. An educational taxonomy is a way to classify levels of thinking and knowing or to demonstrate a progression from concrete thinking to complex analysis.

Why are they helpful?

According to educator Benjamin Bloom, we create and use taxonomies for many reasons. They:

  • Facilitate communication.
  • Ensure accuracy of communication.
  • Define vague terms.
  • Specify objectives.
  • Clarify goals and outcomes.
  • Clarify relationships between learning goals.
  • Allow for comparison and understanding between educators.
  • Allow for comparison and understanding between, curriculum, goals, and outcomes.
  • Aid in building curriculum.

(Bloom, 1956, p1-11) The following are abstracts representing 4 prominent educational taxonomies.