Being able to categorize information is an essential skill in order to adequately operate within society. Everyone from school children to presidents and grandparents utilizes the analytical thinking associated with categorizing information and stimuli on a daily basis. Seemingly simple tasks such as identifying which homework assignments are considered a part of math, reading, writing, or science, is difficult at first and require practice from students. Many vocations, for example, software developers, have to identify the various uses and categories for medical centers when they are designing dental, medical or physical therapy software. Not only do they have to provide the needed areas for proper documentation, scheduling, practice management and billing, but they have to connect all of these categories with numerous sub categories while making it easy to look up an individual patient. This requires immense ability to organize information.
Examples of this skill being necessary are prevalent in our society. Presidents have to assign areas of responsibility to managers and the people they are responsible for, an interior design expert has to be able to transform physical areas through tangible organization of items, and road construction crews have to synchronized according to project progression, crew abilities and weather patterns. There are infinite ways that people are asked to organize information on a daily basis.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a widely recognized hierarchy of thought patterns and thinking skill development. It starts with knowledge, things that can be directly experienced and remembered, then comes comprehension, which is the understanding gained through observations and associations. Next is application. Being asked to use the information gathered in a similar situation. This level is the first that requires a form of adaptation to new or unique circumstances. This can be more challenging than people realize, especially when it is first being developed. Adaptation requires formation of new information based on relational judgment calls. Following application, analysis begins. This is where much of the information organization takes place.
It is fortunate that a person’s ability to categorize information is not always directly related to their ability to organize a room. A brilliant developer of physical therapy software may work in a mess of an office, yet be able to see the intricacies and relations between various treatments and methods to chart progress. His analytical skills are crucial to creating a physical therapy software program that will be easily understood by other people viewing and using the program. Not only does his software system have to make sense to him, but anyone using it as well.
A good physical therapy software designer would also have to be proficient in the next level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Synthesis is taking various ideas that may initially seem unrelated and putting them together to form a new concept. It involves the use of creativity in finding connections and potential uses for portions of the initial ideas. The last item listed, is evaluation. This requires a lot of creativity and assessment to be involved. Looking objectively at your own thoughts can be very difficult. Looking at them with the intent to find flaws and improve their quality requires even more objectivity and recognition of what is effective and what is not. This is a skill that managers, presidents, teachers and almost any employer, desire to see in their staff. If a person is able to evaluate their own decisions and actions, then they will be able to initiate self-improvement much more quickly. To use the example of a physical therapy software designer, if he is able to spot an improvement that needs to be made in the programming, he can fix it immediately. Otherwise, the feedback would generally come from user feedback that gets filtered through managers and back to the designer, which takes a lot more time.