Webb’s Depth of Knowledge

 Introducing the Dok Wheel

The Dok Wheel is a type of skeleton (By Norman Webb.) indicates and reflects this framework in the form of a wheel, therefore this framework is known as the “Depth of Knowledge.” Furthermore, This knowledge wheel has 4 basic levels.

Importance of Dok Wheel

It is important that this is the model that helps you think about content simplicity not about the content difficulty. But, this is the first thing that people should comprehend, understand and accept. Complexity is  different from difficulty in a number of ways. For example, if a student has not seen the words or content through which he is going, it will be difficult for him to understand but not mean that this content is difficult for him. Therefore, there exists a line between these two situations and Dok Wheel helps regarding to this situation to understand the content in a better way.

Need of Knowledge Wheel

Above all, it demands creativity and calculated preparation to deliver engaging tasks that range in complexity — all while providing scaffolding.

This resource will help.

All about applying Webb’s Depth of Knowledge in your classroom at different DoK levels, it offers definitions, questions, examples, activities and strategies you can use.

What is definition of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge?

Based on his 1997 studyWebb’s Depth of Knowledge is a framework that categorizes contexts — prompts, scenarios and challenges — into four levels of rigor. As students progress through the DoK levels, they will face contexts in assessments that demand learning and thinking at deeper cognitive stages.

A first-level challenge may only require reciting a math fact. A final-level scenario may involve solving a real-world issue using content from different subjects. Keep in mind:

What is Depth of knowledge

  • In action, these context levels look different between subjects and age groups
  • A student doesn’t have to “master” learning and thinking at one level to progress to the next
  • As a teacher, you can deliver different levels to your students through diverse activities, assessments and assignments

The Depth of Knowledge wheel (and why educators shouldn’t use it)

As you’ll soon see below in depth, there are four DoK levels:

  1. Recall
  2. Knowledge application
  3. Strategic thinking
  4. Extended thinking

Referencing DoK levels should help you create an engaging classroom environment, filled with distinct thinking and learning experiences.

But, before we go on, there’s something you should know about the “Depth of Knowledge wheel”. You’ve likely seen the circular DOK diagram, broken into four parts, with accompanying activities attributed to each level.

Webb does not endorse the DOK Wheel Chart

Fun fact: While it may be an interesting (and popular) visual, the DOK wheel that’s commonly referenced as Webb’s work was not actually endorsed by Webb himself.

As John Walkup, Ph.D. and founder of The Standards Company, writes:

The problem with the DOK wheel chart rests on the fundamental, but completely false, premise that teachers can simply select certain action verbs to raise and lower the DOK level of their instruction… In December 2013, I emailed Norman Webb for his views on the DOK wheel chart. Apparently, he is asked quite regularly for permission to use the chart in the mistaken belief that he created it. In his response, Webb explicitly stated that he considers the wheel chart misleading and has always discouraged its use.

Understanding DoK levels 1 to 4

  • Recall: DoK level 1

The first Depth of Knowledge level is defined as recollection and reproduction.

Rooted in simple exercises and procedures, students must remember facts, terms and formulas. There is little to no need for extended processing, as there aren’t opportunities to “solve” anything. A student will or will not know the answer.

  • Application: DoK level 2

The second Depth of Knowledge level is defined as knowledge application.

Students must choose the appropriate route to correctly solve a question, making decisions and completing distinct steps along the way. For example, as opposed to reciting a math fact, they may have to solve a multi-step equation. To successfully do so, they may have to apply information in a different way or scenario than they learned it.

  • Strategic thinking: DoK level 3

The third Depth of Knowledge level is defined as strategic thinking.

Students must face problems and scenarios that are more abstract than those in the previous level. Often, there may be different correct steps and answers. For example, writing an essay based on a defined topic can lead students in unique directions. As a result, they’ll likely reach dissimilar conclusions.

  • Critical thinking: DoK level 4

The fourth Depth of Knowledge level is defined as extended critical thinking.

Students will get a mental workout. To complete a given challenge, they must typically gather information from different sources and disciplines.

These challenges — such as problem-based learning activities — are usually linked to real-world problems without clear solutions, requiring students to justify their ideas and address counterpoints. As a result, students must critically think over relatively-long periods of time.

Levels of Depth,s Knowledge

Sharing the DoK Wheel with Students

Educators spend a considerable amount of time to analyze, diagnose formative performance data. This implementation focuses to individualize instruction for the students. The wheel focuses on concepts of critical thinking in many contexts, including curriculum planning, lesson ideas, and assessment. Some of the techniques to implement DoK Wheel are as follows.

  • Work with students on unpacking strategies that help them engage in that cognitive activity. Consider creating process charts with them to identify the skills that they require. For example, what kinds of skills and tools might we need to analyze a character’s motivation in a story?
  • Have students code their assignments and questions. This is empowering and offers students a chance to reflect on what they are to do.
  • Exclusively train students on the various cognitive levels. Also ensure that they understand what each of the conceptual terms mean.
  • Offer students the opportunity to reflect on their strengths. Also focus on answering “are they really strong in certain areas, but want to further develop in others?”
  • Give students the opportunity to develop their own questions aligned to the DoK levels.

Solved Questions for You

What are some of the primary benefits of implementing DoK Wheel for students?

  • Helps in deeper understanding of the concepts
  • Students will begin to study and learn in a manner that associates with practical approaches
  • Moreover, students will begin to understand and work on cognitive and effective learning
  • By making use of the DoK Wheel, students tend to remember and recollect their conceptual knowledge much better.

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