Section summary: The learner and learning

Bloom et al. set a platform for learning and teaching that is, to date, influential. Bloom et al. instigated an important transition from the focus of only knowledge and skill in education to the holistic development of a learner where learning was viewed as a transformational journey a learner goes through. Although the initial focus of Bloom’s taxonomy was on behavioural manifestation in the learner for judging outcome and success, it also implemented and stressed the importance of critical thinking and cognitive development of the learner (cognitive domain). The learner’s progression through the cognitive structure is underpinned by increasing learner involvement in the learning process – the learner has to construct its own understanding to be able to apply it in different contexts and situations. The three learning domains outlined by Bloom et al. emphasise the importance of the learner identity and the building and nurturing of this in the learning process (Fink, 2003; Siemens, 2006).


A – outlines the relationship between what the learner knows and the learner’s ability to apply this knowledge in a situation and vice versa. This relationship creates an opportunity for the learner to create new meaning and understanding. However the degree to which the learner is able to carry out a task and is able to create meaning for him/herself is dependent on the identity the learner has for him/herself (Affective domain). This implies that learning should not only focus on the learner’s ability to create knowledge and ability to apply it, but it should also be inclusive of the overall development of the learner (B and C) where learning builds confidence and improves self-perception. B and C are opportunities that are created for the learner to learn about him/herself to form/improve self-identity. D – effective learning and teaching that creates room for the learner to development as a ‘being’.