With the goal of creating an online community of practice, we are asking guest bloggers to add their insights. This week we have a post from Tracy Meyer who is a fabulous instructional designer. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please contact me. We'd love to hear from you!

Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is an integral part of my instructional design toolbox and I’ve had ample opportunity to leverage the framework when developing training aimed at the lower order thinking skills (remember and understand). The chances to design interventions with learning objectives written higher up the continuum of cognitive complexity (apply, analyze, evaluate, and create) have been less frequent and I’m always pleased when they come my way.

Recently, I had such an opportunity when I collaborated on a DecisionSim™ project. The project involved creating a simulation for primary care clinicians as part of a certified blended learning program for Continuing Education (CE). The goal of the simulation was to increase the awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of a specific disorder that is currently highly under-diagnosed by general practitioners. The training was competency-based and the challenge was to select instructional methods that would facilitate learning at the right level of cognitive complexity for the target audience.

The customer wanted to use a nontraditional CE approach by starting with clinical presentation and recognition of symptoms, and then linking these to the pathophysiology. Therefore the instructional strategy for sequencing (the ordering of the content) included having the patient’s narrative become more complex in an “elaborative sequence.” Her story needed to unfold realistically for the experienced clinician and strike the right balance of training and evaluation. Only by asking the patient the right questions would the learner’s path adapt to provide the next layer of the story.

I wonder what other instructional methods DecisionSim authors are using as they design for their cases’ desired learning outcomes. I know of one DecisionSim author who integrated a “Think Aloud” activity so the learners, medical students at the graduate-level, could practice reflecting on and articulating their thinking as they worked through the case. This type of metacognitive knowledge is essential for developing clinical reasoning skills. For facilitating the learning of conceptual knowledge, I was reminded of Kira’s post, New DecisionSim Template for Teaching Concepts: Examples and Non-Examples.

What are some instructional strategies you’ve used in simulations (or are searching for) to teach or assess knowledge towards the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (apply, analyze, evaluate, and create)?


About this week's guest blogger: Tracy Meyer is an independent consultant who designs, develops, and implements solutions for workplace learning and performance improvement.  You can contact Tracy through her LinkedIn Profile.