About Simulations and Bloom's Learning Taxonomy


  • Craig Miller
  • Nancy Nentl
  • Ruth Zietlow


"This paper presents a discussion about Bloom’s Learning Taxonomy, a broadly accepted hierarchical model of learning that identifies various stages of learning, and electronic learning tools widely distributed in today’s educational marketplace. First, the six successive stages of Bloom’s are discussed within the context of a business classroom. Then we differentiate six types of electronic learning tools that are commonly available to business instructors such as animations, discreet scenarios, branching, “smart” calculators, deterministic simulations, and Monte Carlo simulations. For each example, we provide a product description, its strengths and weaknesses, and identified its best use in the classroom. We then compare this hierarchy of experiential learning tools to the stages of Bloom’s Learning hierarchy. The differences between true simulations and quasi simulations or products that are not simulations, are significant and important to distinguish. We suggest that while many products are called “simulations,” they are not, in the truest sense, simulations. Whether or not an experiential learning product is a true simulation is measured by the degree to which the product has external validity and thus truly represents a business environment. We conclude that applying the classification of simulation to electronic teaching tools that lack external validity and thus under represent or misrepresent today’s business environment can dilute critical analysis of its adequacy and accuracy. "