Who was Bloom and why should I care?

Benjamin Bloom (1913 – 1999) was an American educational psychologist who developed a taxonomy, or structure, through which educational objectives could be organized according to their cognitive complexity. The cognitive domain deals with a person's ability to process information and use it in a meaningful way. Bloom identified six levels within the cognitive domain, from the simple recall of facts, through increasingly more complex and abstract levels of thinking.

Simply put, Bloom’s Taxonomy helps teachers categorize learning objectives and, from there, assess learning achievements.

Why should you care? Many popular certification exams – such as the ITIL V3 exams – are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. Understanding the Bloom level at which you will be tested and using appropriate study techniques greatly increases your ability to

  • Engage effectively in class
  • Prepare properly for the exam
  • Achieve success on the exam

It is also useful to understand your learning style, or approach to learning. Learning styles include:

  • Visual – learn through seeing
  • Auditory – learn through listening
  • Kinesthetic – learn through moving, doing, touching

The ITIL V3 Foundation and Foundation Bridge exams (and most “foundation” or “essentials” exams) use Bloom levels 1 and 2

  • Bloom 1 – knowledge – measures recall of terminology and specific facts
  • Bloom 2 – comprehension – measures understanding of ideas and ability to translate or explain concepts

Effective learning and study techniques for learners taking Bloom levels 1 and 2 exams include:

  • Take notes/rewrite notes (visual/kinesthetic) - highlight important points in color
  • Reread course materials (visual/auditory/kinesthetic)
  • Complete available study aids (visual/auditory/kinesthetic)
  • Create and use Flash Cards (visual)
  • Record notes, read notes aloud, discuss terms and concepts aloud (auditory)
  • Create mnemonics to aid memorization (auditory)
  • Partner Quizzing (verbal)
  • Create simple mind maps and diagrams to tie terms and basic concepts to key topics (visual/kinesthetic)
  • Read a composed document such as the Introductory Overview of ITIL V3 that provides a “big picture” perspective www.itsmacademy.com/files/itSMF_ITILV3_Intro_Overview.pdf

The ITIL V3 Lifecycle, Capability and Managers Bridge exams use Bloom levels 3 and 4

  • Bloom 3 – application – measures ability to use information in new ways to solve problems, predict results, tell how, when, where and why
  • Bloom 4 – analysis – measures ability to distinguish between different parts, understand how parts fit together, identify causes, recognize hidden meanings, draw conclusions

Effective learning and study techniques for learners taking Bloom levels 3 and 4 exams include:

  • Actively participate in class discussions, debates and assignments
  • Use the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) reading and study technique
  • Create complex mind maps to tie terms, concepts, and activities to key topics (Visual/Kinesthetic)
  • Practice mapping ITIL concepts to real world situations/problems
  • Create inductive diagrams - diagrams that illustrate inductive reasoning which involves moving from observations to a theory
  • Create deductive diagrams - diagrams that illustrate deductive reasoning which involves starting with a theory and confirming (or not) that theory

Despite its popularity, cramming doesn’t work when preparing to take an exam. Your mind needs time to assimilate new information. The best ways to ensure success on any exam are to (1) pay attention and participate in class, (2) take notes, and (3) use a variety of study techniques. The most effective techniques are those that reflect the Bloom level(s) of the exam you are taking and your personal learning style.

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