Dee Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning is an essential model for faculty to consider as they design their courses and determine their pedagogical approach.  For many years, college curriculum was based on the available textbooks. The professor’s role was to settle on a book that adequately covered a subject and teach that book, chapter by chapter. The faculty member’s goal was to cover the content. In the early 1950s, educators collaborated with curriculum and test designers to create teaching and learning materials for the modern age. Professors began to design courses to meet particular objectives established by their institutions or perceived as market demand. In the mid-1950’s Benjamin Bloom conceived a learning taxonomy that has been a foundation for higher education curriculum design. For Bloom, optimal teaching and learning occurred when instructors systematically guided students through six increasingly complex levels of subject or skill mastery. 

In 2013, Dee Fink suggested a revision to Bloom’s linear model. Fink proposes that significant learning occurs when six critical components work in conjunction to enhance each other. The more key components a professor includes in her lesson, unit and course, the more significant the learning will be for the student.

Interested in more? Read Dee Fink’s essay “What Is ‘Significant Learning’?”.

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