The creation of learning environments…

An alternative taxonomy to Bloom is Dee Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning. This is a non-hierarchical taxonomy that focuses on the interaction of six dimensions of significant learning: Foundational, Application, Integration, Human Dimension, Caring, and Learning How to Learn. Working through these dimensions with my PLC, we wrote a 3 Column Table for our innovation plans that starts with a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” and demonstrates project based outcomes.  I was then able to transfer those ideas to a plan for my classroom. Fink’s Taxonomy is really a picture of my learning theory. I appreciate the holistic nature of the planning process, and would be comfortable using the 3 Column Table regularly. 

Another design plan my PLC worked on together is based on the work of Wiggins and McTighe using Understanding by Design (2005). Our UbD template provides a much more detailed framework with a consideration of standards, while still allowing room for project based learning. The UbD focuses on 3 Stages of Learning: Desired Results, Assessment Evidence, and Learning Evidence.  While I was not as comfortable in the development of the UbD, and I might behave towards the product in the same way as the 3 Column Table (in that it is always okay to deviate from the plan), I must say *I* learned more about my direction from the UbD than the 3 Column Table. 

Both designs help to connect the dots of what I’m learning in Creating Significant Learning environments, therefore become a tool to help my learners connect dots as well. Both designs highlight the importance of demonstrating authentic, project based outcomes and both invite the teacher to facilitate learning rather than just deliver content, so that “…the students-no longer docile listeners-are now critical co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher.” (Freire, 1970) 


Fink, L. D. (2005). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Retrieved from:

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. 30th anniversary ed. New York: Continuum.

Harapnuik, D. (2015, August 15). Connecting the dots vs. collecting the dots [Video file]. Retrieved from

Wiggins, G.P., & McTighe, J. (2008). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.