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Health Science | HealthCenter21 | Critical Thinking

How Does HealthCenter21 Align with Bloom's Taxonomy?

September 8th, 2021 | 9 min. read

Mike Cescon

Mike Cescon

With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the AES curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.

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As a CTE instructor, you probably worry whether your classes are really preparing students for careers in the health science field. 

After all, it’s all too common to get so caught up in teaching students knowledge and theory that you might miss teaching them the applicable skills and critical thinking necessary to succeed on the job. 

Teachers like you often approach AES with your concerns, asking how our HealthCenter21 can help their students achieve the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a teaching framework that measures the intellectual level at which students are engaging with your material. 

If you want your students to have the functional skills necessary to earn their certifications and succeed in their career paths, you need to incorporate all categories from Bloom’s Taxonomy, and HealthCenter21 may help you do that. 

In this article, we’ll dive into AES’ 4 Phase learning framework and how each of the phases fits into Bloom’s Taxonomy.

What Is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework for categorizing educational goals, and serves as a valuable tool teachers can use to measure their students’ intellectual understanding of course material.

Generally, Bloom’s Taxonomy is divided into 6 categories. Each one represents a different level at which students can engage with and use the material they’ve learned.

The categories range from indicating a more basic or factual understanding of concepts and skills to indicating a more advanced metacognitive or applicable understanding. 

From basic to advanced, the 6 categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy are:

  1. Remember - One of the most basic categories, this measures whether a student can recall facts and concepts about a lesson.
  2. Understand - This category measures whether a student can explain an idea or concept beyond repeating its definition. 
  3. Apply - This category measures whether a student can take information they’ve learned and apply it to a new situation or circumstance.
  4. Analyze - This category measures whether a student can draw connections between disparate ideas in a lesson.
  5. Evaluate - This category measures whether a student can come to a decision or opinion about a concept and then successfully justify it using knowledge they’ve learned. 
  6. Create - One of the most advanced categories, this measures whether a student can use their understanding of a topic to produce new or original work on that topic.

It’s true that remembering and understanding is important in your day to day classes and assessments. However, your students have to be able to absorb your material on a more advanced level of thought. After all, to make the decisions they need to make day-to-day on the job, simply remembering information isn’t enough. 

Instead, to succeed in the workforce, students need to reach the Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

These are the more highly skilled aspects of learning, and by helping your students reach them, you ensure they have the practical understanding necessary to both earn their certifications and do their jobs. 

How the AES Curriculum Structure Aligns to Bloom’s Taxonomy

The AES curriculum is structured around 4 Phases that provide a well-rounded educational experience that maximizes student engagement and retention. 

The 4 Phases of our curriculum framework are:

  1. Explore Phase
  2. Learn & Practice Phase
  3. Reflect Phase
  4. Reinforce Phase

Although AES’ 4 Phase framework aligns quite well with Bloom’s Taxonomy, the extent of this alignment will vary depending on each phase of AES’ 4 Phase framework. Some phases will reach different categories on Bloom’s Taxonomy than others.


If you successfully use all 4 Phases of our blended learning experience, then you’ll also reach the most complex categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and your students will be able to engage with your material with higher-order levels of thought. 

With that in mind, we’ll explain how each phase of AES’ curriculum framework fits into Bloom’s Taxonomy.

1. Explore Phase


The Explore Phase of AES’ curriculum framework is designed to hook student interest via attention-grabbing teacher-led activities. 

This phase is composed of resources like role-play scripts, equipment demonstrations, and activities.

Generally, the Explore Phase opens new modules and lessons, and is intended to introduce your students to new concepts and prime them for learning new ideas.

How Does AES’ Explore Phase Fit into Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Due to its focus on introducing students to new topics, the Explore Phase remains in the more basic categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy, reaching the Remember category. 

This is because the Explore Phase is designed to activate proper student knowledge in order to introduce them to a topic in an engaging and approachable way. Students then build upon this foundation as the 4 phases move forward and their lessons become more advanced.

2. Learn & Practice Phase


The Learn & Practice Phase of AES’ framework is a critical part of our curriculum, where most teaching standards are covered and where most learning occurs. 

This phase is composed primarily of teacher presentations, eLearning lessons, learning games, and worksheets students can complete.

Generally, the student-led eLearning lessons form the core of this phase. In these lessons, students examine content, complete assessments, and practice new skills.

How Does AES’ Learn & Practice Phase Fit into Bloom’s Taxonomy?

While the Learn & Practice Phase is designed to help students gain a deeper comprehension of course material, the main focus is still on delivering information, and that means it stays in the more basic categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy, achieving the Understand segment. 

To reach the high order thinking levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a curriculum phase requires students to think critically and either actively apply the knowledge they’ve learned in new settings or produce original work. The eLearning lessons in the Learn & Practice Phase, while robust, don't push students to do that. 

However, with the inclusion of certain learning games in some modules of the Learn & Practice Phase, this phase might help students achieve learning in the Apply category. 

This is because some of those games put students into unfamiliar situations in which they’re driven to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in new and interesting ways. 

Some examples of learning games that fall into the Apply category include:

  • The CPR and Basic Life Support module’s Jeopardy game, where students test their knowledge of basic life support.
  • The Electrocardiography module’s ECG Technician game, where students use their knowledge of heart rhythms and ECG strips to answer questions successfully about virtual patients.
  • The Phlebotomy module’s Draw in Order game, where students have to choose the correct blood tubes to draw for each patient. 

3. Reflect Phase


The Reflect Phase of our framework includes teacher-led activities designed to review module lessons in order to help students retain the information they’ve learned.

By reflecting upon and discussing these key concepts and ideas, students draw connections between their lessons and their existing knowledge and experience, which helps them form longer-lasting memories of course material. 

This phase generally consists of various reflection activities, like class discussions and question prompts designed to generate conversations about the topics at hand. 

How Does AES’ Reflect Phase Fit into Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Because of the higher-order thinking involved in the Reflect Phase, it fits well in the Apply category of Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

The Reflect Phase assumes that students already remember and understand course material, and builds atop that foundation by having students review and discuss the material to enhance understanding.

In particular, the journaling activities involved in the Reflect Phase require students to directly apply their knowledge in new situations, and this pushes it to more advanced levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy than the previous two phases.

4. Reinforce Phase


The Reinforce Phase of our framework is comprised of student-led projects designed to enhance understanding of concepts and skills. 

Working either individually or in groups, when students enter this phase, they actively apply the concepts they’ve learned in previous phases to complete varied--and oftentimes creative--projects to elevate their understanding. 

How Does AES’ Reinforce Phase Fit into Bloom’s Taxonomy?

The Reinforce Phase emphasizes that students directly employ knowledge they’ve learned to generate personal projects. Because of this, the Reinforce Phase reaches the most metacognitive portion of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the Create category. 

While not every project in the Reinforce Phase is necessarily creative, the bulk of them require that students use a more complex understanding of course material to decisively apply their knowledge in a meaningful way. 

This can take many forms, but each project tends to stick to the more complex categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

In other words, even if a Reinforce Phase project doesn’t reach the Create category, it more than likely will land either in Evaluate or Analyze. 

Example projects that reach a few different advanced categories include:

  • The Infection Control module’s Chain of Infection poster, where students create a poster depicting strategies to break the chain of infection based on their research on sanitation. This project reaches the Create category. 
  • The Healthcare Systems module’s Healthcare Innovation Debate project, where students investigate current innovations in healthcare, develop arguments around each topic, and host a debate over their findings. This project reaches the Evaluate category. 
  • The Infection Control module’s Observing Microorganism Growth project, where students collect microorganisms and observe their growth within petri dishes. This project reaches the Analyze category.

Why Do Each of the 4 Phases Reach a Different Tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy?

When examining each of the 4 Phases of AES’ curriculum framework, it’s important to remember that no single phase is meant to stand on its own. 

We design our curriculum with a blended learning approach, where each phase plays an essential part in ensuring deeper learning--and longer retention--for our students. 

In other words, each of the 4 Phases is meant to be used in conjunction with the others, so that, as a whole, the 4 Phases will help your students reach all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that our modules, phases, and activities are designed to be flexible and adaptable to your classroom. 

If you feel it would be valuable to do so, you can take an activity that reaches the Remember or Understand categories and expand upon it to have your students employ more creative or critical thinking skills. This will raise the activity to the more complex categories of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but more importantly, it will drive your students to think more deeply about course material.

Strategies like this ensure your students develop the higher understanding of course material that they need in order to earn their certifications and apply their knowledge to the real world.

Prepare Your Students for Their Future Healthcare Careers

Functionally, if students can’t do their jobs, it won’t matter much how well they do with basic comprehension of course material. And as a health science instructor, it’s your duty to make sure your students not only pass their certification exams, but have the practical and critical skills they need to flourish in their fields. 

Bloom’s Taxonomy is one tool for measuring student readiness--and in this article, you’ve seen a bit of how AES’ curriculum structure guides students to the most complex stages of the Taxonomy. 

However, this article only touches upon the nuts and bolts of AES’ blended learning experience. 

For greater insight into how HealthCenter21 guides students toward higher-order thinking and developing the practical skills they need to succeed, take a look at our student experience guide

Discover how HealthCenter21's  blended learning experience maximizes student engagement and information retention:

HealthCenter21 Student Experience