Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bloom's Taxonomy

Even when I'm in school I'm thinking about poker.

I'm taking an Extension course through the University of Washington - a certificate program for Human Resources. My company has been gracious enough to pay for this - freeroll!

Monday nights, we talk about Developing Effective Training Programs. I didn't expect this to be anywhere near interesting, but since I found a way to relate it to poker, it keeps my interest. Last Monday, we started getting into the bulk of the material about developing a program, and our instructor mentioned Bloom's Taxonomy. Now, we only discussed this for less than an hour, so I won't claim to be an expert, but here's a quick summary:

Bloom suggests that there are six levels of learning within what he calls the "cognitive domain", broken into three hierarchical groups. The first group consists of Knowledge (i.e. recollection of facts and techniques) and Comprehension (i.e. translation of said facts). Learning at it's most basic form consists of these two levels. The next group consists of Application (using knowledge & comprehension in new circumstances) and Analysis (Identify motives or causes). The final group consists of Synthesis (compile information differently) and Evaluation (present & defend judgments or opinions). Again, this is a very basic summarization

As the class is discussing this, I start drifting away, thinking about how this relates to poker, and it seems very relevant to how one improves as a poker player. When one first learns about poker, one could say it goes in this order:

Knowledge (i.e. what are the cards, hand rankings, bettingcheckingfoldingraising)

Comprehension (i.e. folding = losing the hand, betting or raising = trying to win the hand, etc.)

Application (i.e. betting can mean a good hand or a bluff, betting in position vs. out of position, pot odds, etc.)

Analysis (i.e. betting trends, multi-street betting, etc.)

Synthesis (i.e. assigning possible hands & ranges, probablity of hands, pot odds vs. hand ranges, etc.)

Evaluation (i.e. defending or critiquing someone or your own action)

Whether or not those examples properly demonstrate Bloom's Taxonomy, I can't say with confidence, but I think it shows the hierarchical value of each level. What I found particularly interesting is that Evaluation is the final step. As applied to poker, I would infer that Bloom's Taxonomy suggests that, before one can claim to have acquired the skill of being able to evaluate a poker decision, one has to successfully complete the five preceding levels. I think there's definitely some truth to this as it applies to my growth as a poker player.

I've been a poker blogger for over a year now, yet I often times find myself hesitant to comment on other blogs when the discussion turns to hand histories or poker strategy for one main reasons: I am not confident in my ability to process the information to the extent that I can evaluate a particular action. I think it's fair to say that, if I'm not confident in that ability, then my skill level as a poker player is limited.

As it stands right now, I think I'm safely somewhere on the Analysis level. If I intend to improve as a poker player, I need to expand my learning into the Synthesis & Evaluation levels. I don't know if there's any right path to getting to those levels, but it's at least something to shoot for.


At February 7, 2008 at 12:54 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Oh gawd, I am so thankful I'm out of college!

On another topic, it's great to hear you coming to some modest realizations about the level of your game... especially right before you get your @$$ handed to you on Saturday!!! ...

...Oh, Cayne talk trash. Cayne talk trash very well.

See ya Saturday!


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