Taxonomies in Education: Overview, Comparison, and Future Directions

Jeff Irvine


This paper compares and contrasts some of the most popular taxonomies used in education, including: original Bloom’s taxonomy, revised Bloom’s taxonomy, Webb’s depth of knowledge, SOLO taxonomy, Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning, Shulman’s table of learning, and Marzano’s taxonomy. After a brief outline of each taxonomy, the paper discusses the literature corresponding to their use in education and the taxonomies are compared with regard to their treatment of knowledge, cognition, metacognition, higher-order thinking skills, affect, and explicit or implied theories of learning underlying each taxonomy. This is followed by a discussion of future directions for taxonomies in education. To date, while a few binary comparisons of taxonomies have been published, there has been no broad comparison of what may be regarded as the major taxonomies in use in education today. This paper represents the first broad examination of taxonomies that have had significant impacts on higher education.

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Journal of Education and Development  ISSN 2529-7996 (Print)  ISSN 2591-7250 (Online)

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