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How to ask good questions? – Bloom’s Taxonomy (Episode 2)

We talked about types and levels of knowledge in the previous episode: Knowledge Types and Levels  (Episode 1). This week we will look at the Bloom’s questioning system. There are six levels of questioning (refer to Chart), Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create. Those levels of questions don’t take place linearly, we are free to […]

We talked about types and levels of knowledge in the previous episode: Knowledge Types and Levels  (Episode 1). This week we will look at the Bloom’s questioning system. There are six levels of questioning (refer to Chart), Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create. Those levels of questions don’t take place linearly, we are free to use them in an order we prefer. Please allow me to explain each level of questioning, in next episode we will take a look at a simple guiding system for questioning during problem solving process.

The first level questioning is REMEMBER, which “involves the recall of specifics and universals, the recall of methods and processes, or the recall of a pattern, structure, or setting (Anderson et al., 2010).” Basically, it refers to questions that help us remember things such as facts, concepts, or procedures. This type of questions usually start with “What.” For example, “What is the current procedure/methods to handle customer complaints?” “What didn’t work out during the implementation procedure?” “What are the priorities? ” “What we did and what we didn’t implement?” “What has the consumer trends be during the past 3 months?” “What is the current structure of the machine?” “What are the working environment settings in the company?” or generally, “What fact, concept, procedure, and metacognition about the problem can we recall now?”

The second level questioning is UNDERSTAND, which “refers to a type of understanding or apprehension such that the individual knows what is being communicated and can make use of the material or idea being communicated (Anderson et al., 2010).” Basically, it refers to questions that help us understand what is being communicated and how we can use the information to solve problems. This type of questions usually start with “Why.” For example, “Why does the failure happen?” “Why does this problem happen?” “Why does the miscommunication take place?” “Why is it important?” During this process, the 5 Why method can be applied. Or generally, “What fact, concept, procedure, and metacognition about the problem do we understand now?”

The third level questioning is APPLY, which refers to the “use of abstractions in particular and concrete situations (Anderson et al., 2010).” It refers to questions that help us apply abstract ideas of concepts to actions. This type of questions usually start with “How.” For example, “How can we apply what is known to what is unknown?” “How can we improve the current procedure based on feedback?” “How can this type of failure be prevented?” “How can this guide us to our next steps?” “How can we prevent this from happening next time?” Or generally, “What fact, concept, procedure, and metacognition can we apply now to the solution?”

The fourth level of questioning is ANALYZE, which refers to “breakdown of a communication into its constituent elements or parts such that the relative hierarchy of ideas is made clear and/or the relations between ideas expressed are made explicit (Anderson et al., 2010).” This type of questions usually focuses on taking apart elements of an idea or a problem in order to generate assumptions and suggestions. For instance, “What are the most basic parts of this problem?” “What departments and personnels are associated with this incidence?” “What is the hierarchy of this procedure?” “How does this relate to that?” “What is the relationship between this and that?” or generally, “What fact, concept, procedure, and metacognition can we analyze by taking apart now?”

The fifth level of questioning is EVALUATING, which refers to “judgments about the value of material and methods for given purposes (Anderson et al., 2010).” This type of questions usually focuses on strategies or valuing some information over others based on time restrictions or policies. For instance, “Why do you think we should take this solution rather than the other one?” “How do you think this decision aligns with our value?” “Why is this better or more important than the other one?” or generally, “What evaluations in fact, concept, procedure, and metacognition do we prefer now?”

The sixth level of questioning is CREATING, which refers to “putting together of elements and parts so as to form a coherent or functional whole (Anderson et al., 2010).”  Re-organizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing. Creating requires users to put parts together in a new way, or synthesize parts into something new and different creating a new form or product. This process is the most difficult mental function in the new taxonomy. This type of questions focuses on creating new information through assumptions, proposals, and creative thinking. For instance, “What assumptions can we create?” “What are some solutions we can propose?” “What new information and conclusion we can generate?” “What new functions we need to include?” “What new product we can create to satisfy the needs of customers?” Or generally, “What solutions can we create now to solve the problems?” This part is the most challenging among the 6 levels of questioning system, which involves creative thinking. Please refer to The Creative Process for more instructions.  

In the next episode, we will look at a simple question metric guide for problem solving. If you want to suggest any creativity-related topics for me to write, please leave it in the comments. Let’s meet next week.

Reference

Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., … & Wittrock, M. C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives, abridged edition. White Plains, NY: Longman.

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