In a previous section, Teachers’ Three Phases, we considered three sequential stages teachers must progress through to be successful. In a parallel manner, there are six stages learners must progress through to acquire skills successfully and transition into highest levels of learning. An acronym for the six stages is KCAASE (pronounced “case”). The six stages are Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The first three are Discrimination levels of learning and the second three are Inferential levels of learning. This information is from Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive (Bloom, 1986).
SIX COGNITIVE STAGES.
For clarity of meaning, cognitive learning is defined as enabling people to learn by using their reason, intuition, and perception. The major levels of cognitive learning can be classified as memorizing, understanding, and applying. As the six stages are explained, you will notice they follow these three progressive levels. (By the way, did you notice the “ing” words that indicate active participation?)
is remembering previously learned material and simple recalling. Key words are When, Where, What, Who, along with Name, Define, Identify, State, Match, Recall, and List in no specific order. An example of a Knowledge question is, “What is the capitol of Pennsylvania?” A self-question is, “I can recall specific details, information, and ideas from this text. What do I need to remember to make sense of this text?
is grasping the meaning. Key words are Describe, Organize, Arrange, Rephrase, Compare, Contrast, Interpret, Translate, along with Discuss, Paraphrase, Distinguish, Classify, Explain, Summarize, Convert, and List in a specific order. An example of a Comprehension question is, “In priority order, what are the three main ideas this chart presents?” A self-question is, “I can understand what the author is telling me. What does this author want me to understand?”
is applying a rule or a singular process, and using information in concrete situations. Key words are Demonstrate, Compute, Solve, Operate, Apply, along with Choose, Classify, Interpret, Calculate, Relate, Demonstrate, Give an example, and Use. An example of an Application question is, “If x = 2 and y = 5, then x2 + 2y = ?” A self-question is, “I can use my understanding in some meaningful way. How can I connect what this author is telling me to understanding something better?”
is breaking down into parts, by using in-depth and critical thinking. Key words are Identify motives, causes, or reasons for a specific occurrence; Draw conclusions; Make generalizations; Find evidence to support or refute a conclusion or generalization; along with Separate, Recognize, Test, Differentiate, Diagram, Estimate, Separate, Infer, Subdivide, and Why. An example of an Analysis question is, “Why was the land of Israel selected as a site for the Jewish nation?” A self-question is, “I can take my understanding to a deeper level. How is this similar to (or different from) other material I’ve read?”
is putting parts into wholes. This level has the greatest possible number of answers. Key words are Order, Develop, Summarize, Combine, Create, Formulate, Construct, Rearrange, Predict, Produce, Design, and Synthesize. Examples of Synthesis questions are, “How would life be different without courts?” “Write a letter to the editor about a social issue of concern to you.” “How would school be different if attendance was not mandatory?” A self-question is, “I can critically examine this author’s message. How has the author’s perspective influenced what (s)he tells me?”
is formulating judgments, judging the merit or solution, or offering an opinion in terms of a solution. Key words are Critique, Appraise, Argue, Judge, Justify, Support, Evaluate, and Assess. Examples of Evaluation questions are, “Develop an argument for more or less drilling.” “Should young children be allowed to read any book they want?” A self-question is, “I have created new knowledge. How has this author changed what I understand?”
DISCRIMINATION VS. INFERENTIAL.
Bloom identified the first three cognitive levels as lower learning events known as Discrimination learning. The second three levels are higher learning events known as Inferential learning. Discrimination learning is very basic and refers to learning by rote or imitation. Discrimination is very important since it provides the framework for all other learning. But learning should never stop with discrimination because it is knowing facts with some understanding, and no higher order application. Inferential learning is the transfer of discrimination learning to a new situation, the identification of something new based on what has been previously learned, or the transfer and reorganization of that which is known to create something new. All learning begins with discrimination, but inference learning should be the ultimate goal.
You may have noticed in these various sections the purposeful inferential transfer of teaching and learning music applied to spiritual church growth and God’s Kingdom. This is inferential learning at its best. Proverbs 24 and Hebrews 5 are great spiritual explanations of Bloom’s levels of learning from discrimination to inferential. “Through wisdom is a house built; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increases strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in a multitude of counselors there is safety. Wisdom is too high for a fool.” (Proverbs 24:3-7). “For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14).
Jesus’ parables are also great inferential learning events. Note that some parables were so spiritually deep, the disciples had to ask Jesus for the inferred meanings. The three progressive levels of memorizing, understanding, and applying are wonderfully stated in Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”
Pastor, if you consider Bloom’s six cognitive levels as a progressive scale from low to high, you can perform measurements. On what level(s) are your sermons? On what level(s) are your members living and operating? Bloom described his levels for learning, but God's Word takes learning into a whole other realm, that of LIVING, having eternal life or death consequences! If Hebrews 5 is top of the scale, how successfully are your members exercised to discern between good and evil?
Your Belief System and Your Church: (1) Introduction
Your Belief System and Your Church: (2) Your Paradigms
Your Belief System and Your Church: (3) Bondage or Freedom
Your Belief System and Your Church: (4) Gateway Skills
Your Belief System and Your Church: (5) Teacher Accountability
Your Belief System and Your Church: (6) Talking About vs. Doing
Your Belief System and Your Church: (7) Student Accountability
Your Belief System and Your Church: (8) Assessment
Your Belief System and Your Church: (9) Bury Dead Tradition
Your Belief System and Your Church: (10) Teaching vs. Learning
Your Belief System and Your Church: (11) Teachers' Three Phases
Your Belief System and Your Church: (12) Excellence is NOT a Goal
Your Belief System and Your Church: (13) My Teaching Limits Were Their Learning Limits
Your Belief System and Your Church: (14) Unlearning Creates Success
Your Belief System and Your Church: (15) Pioneers vs. Settlers
Your Belief System and Your Church: (16) Real and Lasting Learning
Your Belief System and Your Church: (17) Problems With Memory
Your Belief System and Your Church: (18) Ownership Creates Success
Your Belief System and Your Church: (19) Not Perfect, But Honest
Your Belief System and Your Church: (20) Take Risks and Give Away Control
Your Belief System and Your Church: (21) Out of a Job
Your Belief System and Your Church: (22) KCAASE and Proverbs 24
Your Belief System and Your Church: (23) Responding vs. Reacting
Your Belief System and Your Church: (24) Only When Performed
Your Belief System and Your Church: (25) A Supervisor's Vision
Your Belief System and Your Church: (26) Glimpses Into the Spiritual
Your Belief System and Your Church: (27) One Reason Alone