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Nail the Scope: Levels of Learning

Too many projects go off the rails because there are small misses in scope agreement that lead to issues downstream. 

Nailing the scope of a learning solution - a course, a group of courses, or an entire development map - means that L & D and business stakeholders are in agreement. It means projects are set up to run smoothly. It means L & D and business resources are more likely to be efficiently deployed in the product development process, and it means there are minimal or no flare-ups caused by differing understanding of scope. 

A critical aspect of scoping is to get the level of learning right. Once you and your client or stakeholder agree on the level of learning, you can move on to discussions about modality, or blends of modalities, level of interactivity, assessment strategies, design elements, budget, timeline, and resources. 

Level of learning is the first scoping topic to lock down because it creates a traceable tie between the learning outcome, the performance gap, and ultimately, the business goal. It answers the question, "How far does the learning experience need to go to create the needed change in performance?" If you can't answer that question with confidence, ask your business stakeholders. (Note, business leader stakeholders often don't want or expect the learning solution to completely close a performance gap. Getting the employee 80+% of the way there is often good enough.)

Defining the level of learning does not equate to determining how a learning event will be designed or delivered. A rich, engaging, and meaningful learning experience starts with a clear understanding of the level of learning and is enhanced by placing the learning in a real context, selecting an effective modality (or blend of modalities), assessing results that matter, and using design elements that create the right look, feel, and engagement with the content (and doing it all within a defined budget and to meet an important timeline).

Below is a summary of the six levels of learning depicted above, with simple descriptions, useful verbs to use in learning objectives or when describing the learning outcome, and how the levels align with Bloom's Cognitive and Psychomotor Taxonomies as well as Marzano's Taxonomy.

Awareness

Description: Being informed of the existence of a subject or topic.

Useful Verbs and Phrases (not presented in any particular order): Define, Identify, Name, List, Recognize, Enumerate, Recite

Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy: Recall

Bloom's Psychomotor Taxonomy: N/A

Marzano's Taxonomy: Recognize, Recall

Knowledge

Description: Recalling, retrieving, and integrating information, facts, data, and concepts of a subject or topic.

Useful Verbs and Phrases (not presented in any particular order):  Explain, Describe, Interpret, Summarize, Classify, Associate, Contrast, Express, Infer, Relate, Translate, Show, Illustrate

Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy: Understand

Bloom's Psychomotor Taxonomy: Perceive, Set

Marzano's Taxonomy: Recognize, Recall

Skill - Basic or Guided

Description: Copying or reproducing parts of cognitive and physical job-related tasks, procedures and processes.

Useful Verbs and Phrases (not presented in any particular order)Demonstrate, Complete, Construct, Produce, Distinguish, Order, Judge, Compare, Assess, Choose, Defend, Conclude, Construct, Organize, Act, Advance, Perform, Adapt, Revise, Investigate, Research, Select, Decide, Take a position on, How would you overcome?, What would happen if?, How would you determine if?, How would you adjust if?

Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy: Apply, Analyze, Evaluate

Bloom's Psychomotor Taxonomy: Guided Response

Marzano's Taxonomy: Analyzing, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Experimenting, Investigating

Skill - Advanced

Description: Independently applying requisite knowledge and completing end-to-end job-related tasks, procedures, and processes.

Useful Verbs and Phrases (not presented in any particular order)Demonstrate, Complete, Construct, Produce, Distinguish, Order, Judge, Compare, Assess, Choose, Defend, Conclude, Construct, Organize, Act, Advance, Perform, Adapt, Revise, Investigate, Research, Select, Decide, Take a position on, How would you overcome?, What would happen if?, How would you determine if?, How would you adjust if?

Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy: Apply, Analyze, Evaluate

Bloom's Psychomotor Taxonomy: Mechanism

Marzano's Taxonomy: Analyzing, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Experimenting, Investigating

Performance

Description: Combining, integrating, and concurrently applying requisite knowledge and discrete skills to new or more complex job-related situations.

Useful Verbs and Phrases (not presented in any particular order)Demonstrate, Complete, Construct, Produce, Distinguish, Order, Judge, Compare, Assess, Choose, Defend, Conclude, Construct, Organize, Act, Advance, Perform, Adapt, Revise, Investigate, Research, Select, Decide, Take a position on, How would you overcome?, What would happen if?, How would you determine if?, How would you adjust if?

Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy: Apply, Analyze, Evaluate

Bloom's Psychomotor Taxonomy: Overt Response, Adaptation

Marzano's Taxonomy: Analyzing, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Experimenting, Investigating

Mastery

Description: Determining the need for and composing, designing, and creating something new related to the role or job.

Useful Verbs and Phrases (not presented in any particular order)Design, Compose, Plan, Formulate, Hypothesize, Compile

Bloom's Cognitive Taxonomy: Create

Bloom's Psychomotor Taxonomy: Originate

Marzano's Taxonomy: Analyzing, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Experimenting, Investigating