So what is taxonomy?

There are several taxonomies that can be used in course and subject design and this page shows just two of those. One is SOLO taxonomy developed by Biggs and Collis, (1982) and the other is a revision of Bloom's taxonomy by Krathwoll and Anderson. The taxonomy table (below) developed by Krathwoll and Anderson based on Bloom’s taxonomy helps to identify the cognitive dimension of remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create and match it against the knowledge dimensions of factual, conceptual, procedural, metacognitive. Here's a link to an interactive table that can help see the steps of development more clearly. Ideally you would want to develop student knowledge and skills from a lower order of thinking at the beginning of the session to a higher order of thinking as they progress throughout the subject. Also, you would want to have a higher order of thinking prevailing in a third year subject where lower order of thinking to medium is more acceptable in a first year subject.

Taxonomy Table

Adapted from Krathwohl (2002).

Knowledge dimension
Cognitive process dimension
1. Remember
2. Understand
3. Apply
4. Analyse
5. Evaluate
6. Create

Remember factual knowledge
Understand factual knowledge
Apply factual knowledge
Analyse factual knowledge
Evaluate factual knowledge
Create factual knowledge
A. Factual Knowledge

Remember conceptual knowledge
Understand conceptual knowledge
Apply conceptual knowledge
Analyse conceptual knowledge
Evaluate conceptual knowledge
Create conceptual knowledge
B. Conceptual Knowledge

Remember Procedural knowledge
Understand Procedural knowledge
Apply Procedural knowledge
Analyse Procedural knowledge
Evaluate Procedural knowledge
Create Procedural knowledge
C. Procedural Knowledge

Remember metacognitive knowledge
Understand metacognitive knowledge
Apply metacognitive knowledge
Analyse metacognitive knowledge
Evaluate metacognitive knowledge
Create metacognitive knowledge
D. Metacognitive Knowledge

Using this table, you can identify whether students are remembering factual knowledge, understanding concepts, applying or creating procedures. Developing skills and knowledge is best done in increments building on prior knowledge and ensuring that students get the required knowledge and skills before moving on to the next level of difficulty.

SOLO taxonomy is a method of classifying learning outcomes in terms of complexity. More descriptors can be found on John Biggs website or at this website on SOLO taxonomy.

Analyse a subject's learning outcomes to see whether there is skill and knowledge development over the session.

These pages created by Deb Murdoch, an Academic Lead on the Student Transition and Retention Program at Charles Sturt University and course and subject analyst in the Faculty of Business.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.