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Origins of Inverted Bloom's Taxonomy

Posted by on in Music Education Research
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In order to accomplish our goal of simplified music education, I model learning through Bloom’s Taxonomy with one great exception. The entire process is inverted. First, the learner must create. It is in that creating that all understanding will originate from during the experiential process. This concept may have been created by Sam Wineberg and Jack Schneider in an Education Week article, “Inverted Bloom’s Taxonomy” (Wineburg & Schneider, 2009), where they called for all of the Bloom’s Taxonomy posters hanging in classrooms to be turned upside down. After I began disseminating this theory of simplified music education it began to spread. Sadly, the hundreds of websites that started talking about it in 2012 fail to mention Wineburg or Schneider.

My professional goal is to create online learning opportunities for students to learn experientially using this combined Music Education, Simplified / Inverted Bloom’s Taxonomy methodology by the end of 2020. This will be done through the use of learning management systems, content management systems and other emerging educational technologies. My research will be harnessing the infinite ADDIE model of analysis, design, development, implement, evaluate and will be implemented to both students and teachers. By doing so, it will be seen if this system can implement through teacher workshops and pedagogy or through direct student experiences in the learning system.

Download Wixneburg's & Schneider's Research directly as a PDF, here, from!

Excerpt: "The magic of Bloom’s Taxonomy, that familiar classification system for levels of thinking (and hence learning objectives), was that teachers could close their eyes and picture it. And with a little help from entrepreneurial consultants, they didn’t need to close their eyes at all—posters of color-coded pyramids became a standard part of classroom decor. The taxonomy was lean and intuitive, but the image of the pyramid gave it staying power. “Knowledge” formed the wide and stable base. “Evaluation” was the terrain of intellectual mountaineers.

Never mind the fact that Benjamin Bloom, the influential University of Chicago education professor who died in 1999, never used a pyramid to illustrate his taxonomy, much less for the purpose of teacher professional development. What mattered was the taxonomy in practice. In a postwar world marked by increasing specialization and fragmentation, the taxonomy was an antidote to chaos. Thinking, despite the many disciplines it came in, could be assayed and rank- ordered according to Bloom’s levels. And there were only six categories, not 60. The taxonomy was easy to remember and easy to use, even more so when it was reduced to a pyramid."

Wineburg, S., & Schneider, J. (2009, October 02). Inverting Bloom's Taxonomy. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from

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