STUDENT SUCCESS & How combining multiple ideas into a new plan shows higher levels of thinking. #BloomsTaxonomy

Commentary by Professor B: Students sometimes ask how many resources they should be using in their classroom discussion and their homework. I recently responded to a student that “the real key is to show that you’re developing ideas from a number of sources.” Here is the reason why this is important in graduate school:


I’ve given some suggestions, but there really are no requirements. The suggestions I have given are: one to two textbooks and 2 to 3 outside sources for a B. So a person with an A might use more than that.

But the real key is to show that you’re developing ideas from a number of sources.

So as you go through your discussions during the week, be checking around the Internet and finding juried sources that give you ideas how to tackle each week’s problems.

Then when you get to your final paper you will have a cadre of ideas you can synthesize together to create a plan. This synthesis fulfills what is called level five of Bloom’s taxonomy. (See Bloom’s taxonomy says that higher levels demonstrate higher degrees of critical thinking. And the next to the highest level is synthesis: combining several ideas together into something unique that works for your context.

As you know, I have put together a research site ( with links to almost 3000 articles that you can search by keyword. This should help you with a shortcut to juried research that other students have found or that I have found.

But I’m here to help … so I don’t want to be inflexible with the number of sources. Rather just connected with different sources on each week’s topic and create a synthesize plan. That shows not only that you created a unique solution, but also that you’r using higher levels of thinking to do it.

Thanks for the question.

Here to help.

Professor B.

TEAMS & You need “deep domain experts” + “synthesis across domains”

Commentary by Prof. B.: Currently I am writing a new leadership course. As a busy church consultant/coach I’ve benefited from a deep expertise in my field. But, I also must partner with colleagues in other fields to write my courses for reasons this article and the research cited in it explains.

“Innovation Is About Networks, Not Nodes” by Greg Satell, Inc. Magazine, 12/2/17.

Exploring New Connections

For decades, creativity researchers have understood that deep domain expertise is essential for creativity. It is those that know a particular area very well who best understand which are the important problems, what approaches have already been used to try to solve them and what would be truly novel.

Yet it is also true that great breakthroughs arise through synthesis across domains. Darwin spent years studying fossils and morphology, but it was an essay about economics that broke the logjam and allowed him to put the pieces together. In much the same way, it was Watson and Crick’s broad approach that helped them win the race to discover the structure of DNA.

More recently, researchers analyzing 17.9 million scientific papers found that the most highly cited work is far more likely to come from a team of experts in one field that borrowed a small piece of insight from another. Innovation almost always involves a novel combination.

The only way to find that unlikely strand is to constantly make new connections. The more diverse information you come across, the more likely you are to find that seemingly random piece of insight that can help you…

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