Incorporating Bloom's Taxonomy in Nursing Curricula

by Jen Moreland, RN MSN | December 5, 2022

Incorporating Bloom’s Taxonomy into nursing curricula has many benefits. Bloom’s Taxonomy helps nursing students move beyond mere memorization by making learning actionable and encouraging them to make higher-level thinking connections. Bloom’s Taxonomy is also the framework used to create and evaluate questions on the NCLEX® and Next Generation NCLEX® (NGN), so understanding how to use Bloom’s Taxonomy will help nursing students pass their licensing exams. Whether you’re looking for more ways to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom or want a better understanding of what Bloom’s Taxonomy is, here are some free Bloom’s Taxonomy resources created by nursing educators for nursing educators.

Bloom's Taxonomy FAQ's

Below, we address some frequently asked questions about Bloom’s Taxonomy.

The Bloom’s Taxonomy framework for thinking was created in 1956 by an educational psychologist, Dr. Benjamin Bloom. The purpose of the framework is to provide educators with a model to help promote higher levels of thinking within education.

There are six learning domains in the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is one of the driving factors in the creation of the NCLEX® and NGN; therefore, it is critically important that nurse educators understand how to use this tool to empower students. By using this framework, nursing educators can help students move through the Remembering or memorizing of facts (“parroting” content) to the true Understanding of the information. Then, we can guide students on how to Apply the knowledge to higher-level thinking, including Analysis and Evaluation of information. Finally, nurse educators can teach students how to combine everything they’ve learned and processed in order to Create their conclusions.

Bloom’s Taxonomy Chart for Nursing Education

Learn how using Bloom’s Taxonomy can help nursing students build foundational knowledge and, ultimately, pass the NGN.

How to Use Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Classroom

Foundational Material at the Heart of Remembering & Understanding

When looking at the first two sections of Bloom’s – Remember and Understand – we will recognize this as applying to textbook or foundational material. Remembering and Understanding-styled information can readily be found in traditional coursework, and students can use this type of information to create a solid and comprehensive foundation of knowledge from which to draw when moving to higher levels of thinking, such as Application. 

Application of Knowledge Leads to Higher-Level Thinking

Another easy way to help students understand how to transition their thinking is to change our language as educators. When reviewing material, such as basic patient signs and symptoms for various diseases, use that material as a “Call to Action.” This helps students to move beyond memorization by making learning actionable. 

For example, we teach that dyspnea is a sign and symptom of heart failure. But don’t stop there! Have the students ask themselves:

  • What is dyspnea?
  • What does it look like? 
  • How do I assess it? 
  • How do I treat it?  

By making learning actionable, we help the students to move beyond memorization and into Application. These exercises help to prepare them for real-world situations where they will have to quickly Analyze patient symptoms, Evaluate their responses to treatments, and ultimately Create conclusions about the next steps in patient health.

Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy in Testing

Another way we can apply Bloom’s is through testing. On the NGN, we find keywords such as: what is best, what is most important, and first and highest priority. When creating your own test items, using this type of critical-thinking verbiage will also help students to transition from Remembering to Application.

Incorporating Bloom’s Taxonomy Into Learning Objectives

We all use learning objectives to communicate what we want the students to get from their reading assignments or lectures. Re-writing objectives so that they follow a simple-to-concrete structure – like Bloom’s – will help students to start to understand how to better Understand, Apply, Analyze, and Evaluate the information as they build towards Creating their conclusions and key takeaways.

Once you have structured your learning objectives to follow Bloom’s Taxonomy, after each lecture or reading, ask students to work through those objectives and answer them as if they were test questions. Treat each lecture or assignment as an opportunity to encourage students to apply their skills and knowledge into actionable practice.

Helping students understand Bloom's framework will help them to transition their thinking earlier and more seamlessly. By incorporating Bloom’s Taxonomy into our classrooms as a systematic process, we help students to make these higher-level thinking connections early on, thus better preparing them for both the rigors of the NGN as well as the high-stakes world of real-life patients.

NCLEX®is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names are the property of the respective trademark holders, none of whom endorse or are affiliated with Kaplan.

Jen Moreland, RN MSN, has over 15 years of nursing experience, with a majority of those years focused on nursing education. Initially Jen graduated from a local community college earning an Associate Degree in Nursing. Then, as she continued to work in the acute care setting as an oncology nurse, she completed her MSN in Nursing Education from Walden University. As an Associate Nursing Professor, Jen has spent many hours filling the role of Site Manager, Clinical Instructor/Coordinator as well as lead didactic instructor for a number of courses. Jen has taught at the PN, ADN and BSN levels and continues to teach online courses. Her educational interests include nursing student success as well as mentoring new nurse educators. Jen started teaching the Kaplan NCLEX Prep course in 2011. In 2018, Jen transitioned into the full time Kaplan Nurse Consultant role. Currently residing in small town Minnesota, Jen enjoys being outdoors and spends a majority of the summer and fall months kayaking and hiking with both family and friends.

See more posts by Jen Moreland, RN MSN