What Does Bloom’s Taxonomy Have to Do with Disaster Preparedness?

If you’ve worked in education or training, Bloom’s Taxonomy may mean something to you. It’s a tool for structuring learning, for example learning about disaster preparedness, via a set of simple steps. Depending on which terminology you choose to use, these steps can be named in order as: remembering; understanding; applying; analysing; synthesising; and evaluating. As a presentation by Gerry Fitzgerald at DEP Expo 2012 mentioned, it can serve as a way of inculcating disaster preparedness in an organisation, although its use also has a more general significance.

As a tool in general, this taxonomy could be applied to learning just about anything. Conversely, it’s a reminder that areas like disaster preparedness, business continuity and resilience, while being disciplines in their own right, can also benefit from standard, generally applicable tools and techniques. It’s therefore also a warning too against NIH or the “Not Invented Here” syndrome. Here’s a practical example of how it might be used, step by step, to get people in your organisation on-board.

  1. Remembering. Being able to state what disaster preparedness is, including any important terms or facts.
  2. Understanding. Demonstrating comprehension of underlying principles, comparing disaster preparedness with disaster recovery, for example.
  3. Applying. Using the principles to define a practical approach, for example disaster preparedness in the context of a manufacturing company or a medical centre.
  4. Analysing. Breaking down the approach into elements and relationships, for instance to lay out different options for given disaster preparedness objectives.
  5. Synthesising. Putting the information together in different ways, for example to improve an existing disaster preparedness plan with a new version.
  6. Evaluating. Assessing the inherent quality of a disaster preparedness plan by using the knowledge, understanding and exercises in the previous steps.