Another pedagogical element present in games is Bloom’s Taxonmy. In an effort to hierarchically order cognitive processes, Benjamin Bloom developed the Taxonomy of Cognitive Outcomes. Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy is based on the idea that cognitive activity can be ordered into six levels, each increasingly complex. In order to progress to a level, the student must have mastered the preceding level. The graphic below illustrates this process.
The application of this hierarchy is evident in games. Games require players to master and remember skills, knowledge, and strategies learned in the preceding stages. As the player progresses, he or she becomes more competent, the game becomes more difficult, and, finally, the player reaches a higher level. Not only must players build on what was learned in the prior level to progress to the next stage, they must often also apply knowledge of one game’s skills and strategies to a sequel, other games, or entire genres of games. In fact, games that lack a progression of difficulties and challenges through the levels are not well received. Often, games are often comprised of a problem, and the player must obtain the knowledge and master lower level skills to solve the problem, a skill at the top of the hierarchy. Game designers often create products where the player is required to analyze, synthesize, and employ critical thinking skills to play and make moves. These activities correspond directly to those in Bloom’s Taxonomy. Small wonder that games are an effective instruction tool.
Becker, K. (2007). Pedagogy in commercial video games. In D. Gibson, C. Aldrich, & M. Prensky (Eds.), Games and simulations in online learning: Research and development frameworks (pp. 21-47). Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing.
Dickey, M. D. (2005). Engaging by design: How engagement strategies in popular computer and video games can inform instructional design. Educational Technology Research & Development, 53(2), 67-83.
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd. ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
Eisner, E. W. (2000). Benjamin Bloom (1919-1999). Prospects: the Quarterly Review of Comparative Education 30(3), 1-7.
Van Eck, R. (2007). Building artificially intelligent learning games. In D. Gibson, C. Aldrich, & M. Prensky (Eds.), Games and simulations in online learning: Research and development frameworks (pp. 21-47). Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing.