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University of the Arts London

Out of the humanist matrix: Learning taxonomies beyond Bloom


This article critiques the ‘humanist’ legacy by questioning the cognitivist and constructivist paradigms which underpin dominant models of adult learning. It asks whether they are suitable for evaluating the way art and design students work with digital technology, questioning humanist and cognitivist models of learning, such as Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy (Bloom et al., 1956) and whether it supports curiosity, criticality and imaginative risk. It connects this issue to the problem of ‘normative validity’, which describes how that which is measured is valued – ‘the indicator of quality becomes the definition of quality’ (Biesta, 2013, p.1) – overshadowing more inclusive approaches to learning.


epistemology, Bloom’s taxonomy, humanism, constructivism, posthumanism


Author Biography

Dr Eleanor Dare

Dr Eleanor Dare is Senior Tutor (research) for MA Digital Direction at the Royal College of Art, School of Communication. She has taught computer programming and other digitally themed subjects at Goldsmiths, the University of Derby, the Open University, University of the Arts London, London College of Communication and the Royal College of Art. She has an MSc with distinction, in Arts Computing and a PhD in Arts and Computational Technology, both from Goldsmiths, Department of Computing.


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