My focus when looking at taxonomies and writing objectives and activities was to plan a unit for a 200-level interviewing class in which students would learn and apply skills necessary for conducting an interview in a web-based space. I am a list-maker and that is one of the reasons I appreciate taxonomies. They are useful for grouping and listing ideas.
The Taxonomy of Significant Learning (Fink, 2013, p. 35) was interesting because it was presented in a circular shape. Rather than a line that comes to an end, I liked the circle as parts of a whole that all exist in a learner’s mind and life at the same time. Similarly, Figure 2.2 shows how the categories are “interactive” (p. 37). I wish the chart builder I chose had a circle option. I also appreciated Fink’s discussion of how today’s learning goals must go beyond cognitive learning (p. 34). His taxonomy is similar to Bloom’s with the levels that build on each other and involve increasing cognitive effort, but adds intrapersonal/interpersonal elements. As communication is a social science, affecting our personal lives as well as intellectual, Fink’s categories seemed a good fit for organizing interviewing units.
What follows is a chart I made using the six significant categories presented by Fink (2013). Under “Foundational Knowledge” I am assuming students have a background in vocabulary and concepts from the first few weeks of the course (like the definition of an interview) but will also be learning some core concepts specific to interacting in an online environment (what software exists, how to navigate it). We can then work on some “Application” goals which are characterized by “critical, creative, and practical thinking” and “managing projects.” In this case, students will be writing questions and preparing for an actual online interview that will be conducted as part of the “Integration” of their new knowledge.
I will also ask them to reflect on their own performance and that of their interview partner, and social factors that may have affected the interview, as part of the “Human Dimension.” That also leads nicely into a discussion of the interpersonal side of interviewing, with “Caring” learning that can happen when students reflect on “feelings, interests, and values” including how students can protect their legal rights and use interviewing skills to reach their career goals.
Lastly, I am hoping to engage students in “Learning How to Learn” by showing them how interviewing can be a reflexive process through which they can continually improve. On the first day of all my communication classes, I point out the fact that even though we “talk” to other people every day, we never usually take the time to reflect on where misunderstandings really come from or how we could present ourselves better. It’s like how many of us use a computer every day but have no idea how the parts work or what coding language means. You don’t have to know the theory or mechanics to do everyday tasks, but if something breaks you’re stuck. Taking the time to study what you’re doing and learn the how/why behind it means you will have a better understanding of how to get unstuck.