Taxonomies of Learning

Considerations of How We Process New Information

The Human Mind Is Complex

In fact, the human mind is so complex that we aren't entirely certain of how it works.  But we do have some idea of scale: in one experiment from 2014, it took a supercomputer forty minutes to model a single second of brain activity.  Also, that experiment only simulated "1.73 billion nerve cells and more than 10 trillion synapses, or junctions between brain cells. Though that may sound like a lot of brain cells and connections, it represents just 1 percent of the human brain's network."

So in case you're afraid that artificial intelligence will take over the world, you're in luck — the machines have a ways to go.  Unfortunately, the latest developments in AI platforms such as ChatGPT provide plagiarism tools that are very, very hard to detect.

If you're a teacher, on the other hand, here's the bad news: our students are incredibly sophisticated and complex.  Whatever myths people might claim about "kids these days," each individual who walks through the door will bring a life's worth of thoughts and experiences into the room.  Some will be expert learners in your subject before they even take their seats.  Others will be attentive students who will remain dubious and uncertain as the first weeks continue.  Many will face physical, emotional, or economic barriers.  And a few will simply wish they were somewhere else.

In attempting to understand and help our students, one key is to consider the variety of ways in which people learn, and then ensure our lesson plans are optimized to engage our students as effectively as possible.

As a model for student learning, Bloom's Taxonomy provides a framework to gauge a student's depth of understanding.  Image and link to Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

UDL focuses on providing students with resources for Representation, Engagement, and Action & Expression.