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The concept of instructional theory is rooted in determining and promoting the best ways for individuals to progress educationally. This focuses on encouraging individuals, especially young people, in their overall educational growth, transitioning from lower levels of educational functioning to higher levels. How this is done through various types of instruction and assessment is the cornerstone of most instructional theories.
The most widely-used source of instructional theory comes from Benjamin Bloom, a professor at the University of Chicago. His taxonomy focuses on various domains of learning, with students' progression through the various stages representing their ability to develop critical thinking skills. On the bottom level of this instructional theory is knowledge, or the rote memorization of facts. Moving farther up through the taxonomy, students are able to apply this material to new situations, such as manipulating variables in an equation or predicting how a situation might progress. Ultimately, this instructional theory strives to give students the following:
- The ability to make value judgments
- Evaluating information or source material to determine its effectiveness
By interpreting information, comparing and contrasting it to alternative sources, and justifying a given selection, students are able to show their overall progression through the various levels of Bloom's taxonomy and their upward movement through this specific instructional theory.