Solo Taxonomy, An Approach to Understand Different Levels of Students’ Understanding

The Bloom’s Taxonomy is the core to understand all the learning outcomes of an individual. As discussed earlier, it is the hierarchical order of cognitive skills like knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis and evaluation applied at the time of learning. It was introduced by Benjamin Bloom in 1956.

However, in 1982 Biggs and Collis came up with Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes or SOLO Taxonomy which is an alternative to Bloom’s version. Bloom described about the level of cognitive skills like from remembering to analyzing and evaluating. The SOLO taxonomy implies how the learning model in each individual transform from simple to complex level in terms of understanding various subjects.

Like Bloom Taxonomy, SOLO is classified into various levels of understanding: Prestructural, Unistructural, Multisturctural, Relational, Extended Abstract.

Prestructural: At this level the learner is far away from the topic and is acquiring information from all possible sources. The information is not organized and does not make any sense. He does not understand the information and hence unable to reflect his understanding.

Unistructural: This level describes about the learner who has got the basic concept about the subject. Learner is trying to make connection with the information available to him. He has got a gist of the subject but it only focuses on one aspect.

Multistructural: This level is quantitative where the learner has understood different aspects of the subject but their relationship with each other is unknown.

Relational: Here, the learner has understood the subject in deep and is able to connect various aspects with that particular topic. He has got a broader knowledge and has understood the wider significance. He is able to link ideas together which provides a coherent understanding of the subject.

Extended Abstract: This level talks about learners who not only make connections with the subject but beyond that also. Eventually, they are able to create new ideas and concepts based on the understanding of the subject.

Pam Hook is an educational consultant who developed classroom-based approach to SOLO taxonomy to aid schools in New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and UK and to introduce a common curriculum for children to learn the techniques of learning. She is an educational writer who has reviewed many articles and has also advised pedagogical design of curriculum with learning materials and interactive games.

Hooked, is an educational consultancy which aims at improving learning outcomes of students. Pam is the director whose motive is to cultivate individualized learning through SOLO in classrooms. Hooked work directly with schools to develop confidence among students and enhance student engagement.

There are some applications which is developed by Hooked based on SOLO framework:

Question Generator iPad app: This app is used to learn how to ask questions. Questions to develop, link, and extend ideas. There are SOLO coded question banks in the app with an option to customize.

Solo Hexagons: The contents, ideas or images related to any subject are to be created on the hexagons. Make a connection between the number of hexagons you make and share it with others. Challenge others to make connections and extend their ideas. This is to improve higher-order thinking skills.

Learning is a process that needs a lot of patience to imbibe different aspects of a single subject. It only requires a good intent and a desire to get well-versed in seeking wisdom.


Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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