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Four New Creative Ways to Learn

According to educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom, multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank tests are the lowest form of assessing a student’s understanding of a subject. Additionally, these superficial learning experiences don't allow for exploration, individual expression, or creativity. When students are only required to regurgitate simple facts, they miss out on deeper learning experiences, ones that create lasting memories (learning) of a topic.

Take a look at my version of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. In comparing assessment strategies to an iceberg, you can see how simple knowledge and comprehension assessments (fill in the blank/bubble) are only the tip of the iceberg of potential learning experiences. To experience more meaningful and creative learning, we can do these four things:

  1. Application Allow the students to use the information by applying it to real-life experiences.

  2. Analysis Allow the students to analyze the material. Can it be graphed? Dissected? How does this information relate to other topics?

  3. Synthesis Allow the students to change how the information is used. Can it be used or applied to a different setting? Can it be used in conjunction with other information? How can the information be synthesized? Is there another way to express the information?

  4. Evaluation Allow the students to evaluate the subject. Is it valuable? Is it necessary? Is it even worth studying? Do you want to study it longer?

Give your children the opportunity to get creative. They can show their work in the form of projects and activities. Let the learning come to life! When the students are permitted to have these creative learning experiences, they just might need to study the topic more deeply. Diving down deeper, students are given the chance to really come to know a topic. It is more meaningful and remembered for longer. The biggest drawback to these creative and deeper learning experiences is that they are difficult to quantify - they are harder to give a grade to. This is one reason why schools rarely leave the tip of the iceberg. But at home or in small groups, you work much closer with the students. Parents and teachers with small groups don't need to test and grade because by interacting with the students you already know what they know. My personal favorite reason to use these meaningful tactics is that the students are more likely to take an interest in the topic and to have a desire to know more and to master subjects. It turns them into autodidacts and lifelong learners!! Let creativity happen! - Heather Martinson

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