A taxonomy is a way of classifying things–anything from organisms and celestial bodies to food groups.
In one sentence, Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical ordering of cognitive skills that can, among countless other uses, help teachers teach and students learn.
Learning taxonomies help us think about how learning happens in large part by analyzing the parts of the learning process and how they work together.
This means that we can have taxonomies for differentiation and taxonomies for thinking and taxonomies for tasks and assessment–so many possibilities for examining the actual process of thinking, learning, and the application of each.
And note, a taxonomy doesn’t even have to necessarily be ‘good’ as even a ‘bad’ learning taxonomy would still highlight that there are many ways to frame thinking and give us practice in realizing that potential.
For example, imagine creating a taxonomy for how you budget your money. By simply beginning the process of assigning categories and theorizing how they fit together–even if you’re wrong, it’s likely been useful to think more deeply about money and spending and saving and needs versus wants and so on.
The same is true of learning taxonomies: Even a ‘bad’ taxonomy is an attempt to understand how people think and learn. Provided you can identify what’s bad about the taxonomy and see its flaws and limitations, you’ve already likely grown as a teacher.