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Background Information

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom with collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl
published a framework for categorizing educational goals: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Familiarly
known as Blooms Taxonomy, this framework has been applied by generations of K-12 teachers and college
instructors in their teaching.
The framework elaborated by Bloom and his collaborators consisted of six major categories: Knowledge,
Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The categories after Knowledge were
presented as skills and abilities, with the understanding that knowledge was the necessary precondition for
putting these skills and abilities into practice.
While each category contained subcategories, all lying along a continuum from simple to complex and
concrete to abstract, the taxonomy is popularly remembered according to the six main categories.

The Original Taxonomy (1956)

Here are the authors brief explanations of these main categories in from the appendix of Taxonomy of
Educational Objectives (Handbook One, pp. 201-207):

Knowledge involves the recall of specifics and universals, the recall of methods and processes, or the
recall of a pattern, structure, or setting.

Comprehension refers to a type of understanding or apprehension such that the individual knows what
is being communicated and can make use of the material or idea being communicated without necessarily
relating it to other material or seeing its fullest implications.

Application refers to the use of abstractions in particular and concrete situations.

Analysis represents the breakdown of a communication into its constituent elements or parts such that
the relative hierarchy of ideas is made clear and/or the relations between ideas expressed are made

Synthesis involves the putting together of elements and parts so as to form a whole.

Evaluation engenders judgments about the value of material and methods for given purposes.

The 1984 edition of Handbook One is available in the CFT Library in Calhoun 116. See itsACORN record for
call number and availability.
While many explanations of Blooms Taxonomy and examples of its applications are readily available on the
Internet,this guide to Blooms Taxonomy is particularly useful because it contains links to dozens of other web
Barbara Gross Davis, in the Asking Questions chapter of Tools for Teaching, also provides examples of
questions corresponding to the six categories. This chapter is not available in the online version of the book,
but Tools for Teaching is available in the CFT Library. See itsACORN record for call number and availability.


The Revised Taxonomy (2001)

A group of cognitive psychologists, curriculum theorists and instructional researchers, and testing and
assessment specialists published in 2001 a revision of Blooms Taxonomy with the title A Taxonomy for
Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. This title draws attention away from the somewhat static notion of
educational objectives (in Blooms original title) and points to a more dynamic conception of classification.
The authors of the revised taxonomy underscore this dynamism, using verbs and gerunds to label their
categories and subcategories (rather than the nouns of the original taxonomy). These action words describe
the cognitive processes by which thinkers encounter and work with knowledge:


























In the revised taxonomy, knowledge is at the basis of these six cognitive processes, but its authors created a
separate taxonomy of the types of knowledge used in cognition:

Factual Knowledge


Knowledge of terminology

Knowledge of specific details and elements

Conceptual Knowledge

Knowledge of classifications and categories

Knowledge of principles and generalizations

Knowledge of theories, models, and structures

Procedural Knowledge

Knowledge of subject-specific skills and algorithms

Knowledge of subject-specific techniques and methods

Knowledge of criteria for determining when to use appropriate procedures

Metacognitive Knowledge

Strategic Knowledge

Knowledge about cognitive tasks, including appropriate contextual and conditional knowledge


Mary Forehand from the University of Georgia provides a guide to the revised version giving a brief summary
of the revised taxonomy and a helpful table of the six cognitive processes and four types of knowledge.
Why Use Blooms Taxonomy?
The authors of the revised taxonomy suggest a multi-layered answer to this question, to which the author of
this teaching guide has added some clarifying points:

Objectives (learning goals) are important to establish in a pedagogical interchange so that teachers and
students alike understand the purpose of that interchange.


Teachers can benefit from using frameworks to organize objectives because


Organizing objectives helps to clarify objectives for themselves and for students.


Having an organized set of objectives helps teachers to:

plan and deliver appropriate instruction;

design valid assessment tasks and strategies;and

ensure that instruction and assessment are aligned with the objectives.


B l o o m ' s Ta x o n o m y o f L e a r n i n g D o m a i n s
Bloom's Taxonomy was created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr
Benjamin Bloom in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and
evaluating concepts, processes, procedures, and principles , rather than just remembering facts
(rote learning). It is most often used when designing educational, training, and learning processes.
The Three Domains of Learning
The committee identified three domains of educational activities or learning (Bloom, et al. 1956):

Cognitive: mental skills (knowledge)

Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (attitude or self)

Psychomotor: manual or physical skills (skills)

Since the work was produced by higher education, the words tend to be a little bigger than we
normally use. Domains may be thought of as categories. Instructional designers, trainers, and
educators often refer to these three categories as KSA ( Knowledge [cognitive], Skills [psychomotor],
and Attitudes [affective]). This taxonomy of learning behaviors may be thought of as the goals of
the learning process. That is, after a learning episode, the learner should have acquired a new
skill, knowledge, and/or attitude.
While the committee produced an elaborate compilation for the cognitive and affective domains,
they omitted the psychomotor domain. Their explanation for this oversight was that they have little
experience in teaching manual skills within the college level. However, there have been at
least three psychomotor models created by other researchers.
Their compilation divides the three domains into subdivisions, starting from the simplest cognitive
process or behavior to the most complex. The divisions outlined are not absolutes and there are
other systems or hierarchies that have been devised, such as the Structure of Observed Learning
Outcome (SOLO). However, Bloom's taxonomy is easily understood and is probably the most widely
applied one in use today.
Cognitive Domain
The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills (Bloom, 1956).
This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns, and concepts that serve
in the development of intellectual abilities and skills. There are six major categories of cognitive an


processes, starting from the simplest to the most complex (see

the table below for an in-depth coverage of each category):







The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. That is, the first ones must normally be
mastered before the next one can take place.
B l o o m ' s R e v i s e d Ta x o n o m y
Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom, and David Krathwohl revisited the cognitive domain in
the mid-nineties and made some changes, with perhaps the three most prominent ones being
(Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, Wittrock, 2000):

changing the names in the six categories from noun to verb forms

rearranging them as shown in the chart below

creating a processes and levels of knowledge matrix

The chart shown below compares the original taxonomy with the revised one:

This new taxonomy reflects a more active form of thinking and is perhaps more accurate. The new
version of Bloom's Taxonomy, with examples and keywords is
shown below, while the old version may be found here
Ta b l e o f t h e R e v i s e d C o g n i t i v e D o m a i n

Examples, key words


(verbs), and technologies

for learning (activities)


Examples: Recite a policy.

Recall or retrieve

Quote prices from memory to

previous learned

a customer. Recite the safety


Key Words: defines,
describes, identifies, knows,
labels, lists, matches,
names, outlines, recalls,
recognizes, reproduces,
selects, states


Technologies: book marking, flash cards,

rote learning based on repetition, reading

Examples: Rewrite the principles of test

writing. Explain in one's own words the
steps for performing a complex task.

Translate an equation into a computer

Comprehending the


meaning, translation,
interpolation, and
interpretation of instructions
and problems. State a
problem in one's own

Key Words: comprehends, converts,

defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains,
extends, generalizes, gives an example,
infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts,
rewrites, summarizes, translates
Technologies: create an analogy,
participating in cooperative learning, taking
notes, storytelling, Internet search

Examples: Use a manual to calculate an

employee's vacation time. Apply laws of
statistics to evaluate the reliability of a
Applying: Use a concept in

written test.

a new situation or
unprompted use of an

Key Words: applies, changes, computes,

abstraction. Applies what

constructs, demonstrates, discovers,

was learned in the

manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts,

classroom into novel

prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves,

situations in the work place.

Technologies: collaborative learning, create
a process, blog, practice

Analyzing: Separates

Examples: Troubleshoot a piece of

material or concepts into

equipment by using logical deduction.

component parts so that its

Recognize logical fallacies in

organizational structure

reasoning. Gathers information from a


department and selects the required tasks

for training.
Key Words: analyzes, breaks down,
may be understood.

compares, contrasts, diagrams,

Distinguishes between facts

deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates,

and inferences.

distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers,

outlines, relates, selects, separates
Technologies: Fishbowls, debating,
questioning what happened, run a test

Examples: Select the most effective

solution. Hire the most qualified candidate.
Explain and justify a new budget.
Evaluating: Make judgments

Key Words: appraises, compares,

about the value of ideas or

concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques,


defends, describes, discriminates,

evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies,
relates, summarizes, supports
Technologies: survey, blogging

Creating: Builds a structure

Examples: Write a company operations or

or pattern from diverse

process manual. Design a machine to

elements. Put parts

perform a specific task. Integrates training

together to form a whole,

from several sources to solve a problem.

with emphasis on creating a

Revises and process to improve the

new meaning or structure.

Key Words: categorizes, combines,
compiles, composes, creates, devises,
designs, explains, generates, modifies,
organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs,
relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites,
summarizes, tells, writes


Technologies: Create a new model, write

an essay, network with others

Cognitive Processes and Levels of Knowledge Matrix

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy not only improved the usability of it by using action words, but added a
cognitive and knowledge matrix.
While Bloom's original cognitive taxonomy did mention three levels of knowledge or products that
could be processed, they were not discussed very much and remained one-dimensional:

Factual - The basic elements students must know to be acquainted with a discipline or
solve problems.

Conceptual The interrelationships among the basic elements within a larger structure
that enable them to function together.

Procedural - How to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills,
algorithms, techniques, and methods.

In Krathwohl and Anderson's revised version, the authors combine the cognitive processes with the
above three levels of knowledge to form a matrix. In addition, they added another level of
knowledge - metacognition:

Metacognitive Knowledge of cognition in general, as well as awareness and knowledge of

ones own cognition.

When the cognitive and knowledge dimensions are arranged in a matrix, as shown below, it makes
a nice performance aid for creating performance objectives:
The Cognitive Dimension
The Knowledge

Rememb Understa Appl Analy Evalua Creat







However, others have identified five contents or artifacts (Clark, Chopeta, 2004; Clark, Mayer,

Facts - Specific and unique data or instance.

Concepts - A class of items, words, or ideas that are known by a common name, includes
multiple specific examples, shares common features. There are two types of concepts:
concrete and abstract.

Processes - A flow of events or activities that describe how things work rather than how to
do things. There are normally two types: business processes that describe work flows and
technical processes that describe how things work in equipment or nature. They may be
thought of as the big picture, of how something works.

Procedures - A series of step-by-step actions and decisions that result in the achievement
of a task. There are two types of actions: linear and branched.

Principles - Guidelines, rules, and parameters that govern. It includes not only what should
be done, but also what should not be done. Principles allow one to make predictions and
draw implications. Given an effect, one can infer the cause of a phenomena. Principles are
the basic building blocks of causal models or theoretical models (theories).

Thus, the new matrix would look similar to this:

The Cognitive Dimension
The Knowledge

Rememb Understa Appl Analy Evalua Creat







An example matrix that has been filled in might look something like this:

Rememb Understa





Processes outline








estimate produce

reproduc give an

Metacogniti proper





interpret discover









defend design


critique plan

differentiat conclu





B l o o m ' s Ta x o n o m y : T h e A ff e c t i v e D o m a i n
The affective domain is one of three domains in Bloom's Taxonomy, with the
other two being thecognitive and psychomotor (Bloom, et al., 1956). For an
overview of the three domains, see theintroduction.
The affective domain (Krathwohl, Bloom, Masia, 1973) includes the manner in
which we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation,
enthusiasms, motivations, andattitudes. The five major categories are listed from
the simplest behavior to the most complex:



Example and Key Words

Examples: Listen to others with
respect. Listen for and
remember the name of newly

Receiving Phenomena: Awareness,

willingness to hear, selected attention.

introduced people.
Key Words: acknowledge,
asks, attentive, courteous,
dutiful, follows, gives, listens,

Examples: Participates in class

discussions. Gives a
Responds to Phenomena: Active
participation on the part of the learners.
Attend and react to a particular
phenomenon. Learning outcomes may
emphasize compliance in responding,
willingness to respond, or satisfaction in
responding (motivation).

presentation. Questions new

ideals, concepts, models, etc.
in order to fully understand
them. Know the safety rules
and practice them.
Key Words: answers, assists,
aids, complies, conforms,
discusses, greets, helps,
labels, performs, presents, tells

Valuing: The worth or value a person

Examples: Demonstrates belief

attaches to a particular object,

in the democratic process. Is

phenomenon, or behavior. This ranges

sensitive towards individual

from simple acceptance to the more

and cultural differences (value

complex state of commitment. Valuing is

diversity). Shows the ability to

based on the internalization of a set of

solve problems. Proposes a

specified values, while clues to these

plan to social improvement and

values are expressed in the learner's

follows through with

overt behavior and are often

commitment. Informs


management on matters that

one feels strongly about.


Key Words: appreciates,

cherish, treasure,
demonstrates, initiates, invites,
joins, justifies, proposes,
respect, shares

Examples: Recognizes the

need for balance between
freedom and responsible
behavior. Explains the role of
Organization: Organizes values into
priorities by contrasting different values,
resolving conflicts between them, and
creating an unique value system. The
emphasis is on comparing, relating, and
synthesizing values.

systematic planning in solving

problems. Accepts professional
ethical standards. Creates a
life plan in harmony with
abilities, interests, and beliefs.
Prioritizes time effectively to
meet the needs of the
organization, family, and self.
Key Words: compares, relates,

Internalizes Values(characterization):

Examples: Shows self-reliance

Has a value system that controls their

when working independently.

behavior. The behavior is pervasive,

Cooperates in group activities

consistent, predictable, and most

(displays teamwork). Uses an

important characteristic of the learner.

objective approach in problem

Instructional objectives are concerned

solving. Displays a professional

with the student's general patterns of

commitment to ethical practice

adjustment (personal, social,

on a daily basis. Revises


judgments and changes

behavior in light of new
evidence. Values people for
what they are, not how they


Key Words: acts, discriminates,

displays, influences, modifies,
performs, qualifies, questions,
revises, serves, solves, verifies

B l o o m ' s Ta x o n o m y : T h e P s y c h o m o t o r D o m a i n
The psychomotor domain (Simpson, 1972) includes physical movement, coordination, and use of
the motor-skill areas. Development of these skills requires practice and is measured in terms of
speed, precision, distance, procedures, or techniques in execution. Thus, psychomotor skills rage
from manual tasks, such as digging a ditch or washing a car, to
more complex tasks, such as operating a complex piece of
machinery or dancing.
The seven major categories are listed from the simplest
behavior to the most complex:


Example and Key

Words (verbs)


Examples: Detects non-

(awareness): The

verbal communication

ability to use sensory

cues. Estimate where a

cues to guide motor

ball will land after it is

activity. This ranges

thrown and then moving

from sensory

to the correct location to

stimulation, through

catch the ball. Adjusts

cue selection, to

heat of stove to correct


temperature by smell
and taste of food.
Adjusts the height of the
forks on a forklift by
comparing where the
forks are in relation to
the pallet.


Key Words: chooses, describes,


detects, differentiates, distinguishes,

identifies, isolates, relates, selects.

Examples: Knows and acts upon a

sequence of steps in a
manufacturing process. Recognize
Set: Readiness to act. It includes

one's abilities and limitations. Shows

mental, physical, and emotional

desire to learn a new process

sets. These three sets are

(motivation). NOTE: This subdivision

dispositions that predetermine a

of Psychomotor is closely related

person's response to different

with the Responding to phenomena

situations (sometimes called

subdivision of the Affective domain.

Key Words: begins, displays,
explains, moves, proceeds, reacts,
shows, states, volunteers.

Examples: Performs a mathematical

Guided Response: The early

equation as demonstrated. Follows

stages in learning a complex skill

instructions to build a model.

that includes imitation and trial

Responds hand-signals of instructor

and error. Adequacy of

while learning to operate a forklift.

performance is achieved by

Key Words: copies, traces, follows,

react, reproduce, responds

Examples: Use a personal

Mechanism (basic proficiency):

computer. Repair a leaking faucet.

This is the intermediate stage in

Drive a car.

learning a complex skill. Learned

responses have become habitual

Key Words: assembles, calibrates,

and the movements can be

constructs, dismantles, displays,

performed with some confidence

fastens, fixes, grinds, heats,

and proficiency.

manipulates, measures, mends,

mixes, organizes, sketches.


The skillful performance of motor

acts that involve complex

Examples: Maneuvers a car into a


Complex Overt Response (Expert):

tight parallel parking spot. Operates

a computer quickly and accurately.

movement patterns. Proficiency is

Displays competence while playing

indicated by a quick, accurate, and

the piano.

highly coordinated performance,

requiring a minimum of

Key Words: assembles, builds,

energy. This category includes

calibrates, constructs, dismantles,

performing without hesitation, and

displays, fastens, fixes, grinds,

automatic performance. For

heats, manipulates, measures,

example, players are often utter

mends, mixes, organizes, sketches.

sounds of satisfaction or
expletives as soon as they hit a

NOTE: The Key Words are the same

tennis ball or throw a football,

as Mechanism, but will have adverbs

because they can tell by the feel

or adjectives that indicate that the

of the act what the result will

performance is quicker, better, more


accurate, etc.

Examples: Responds effectively to

unexpected experiences. Modifies
instruction to meet the needs of the
learners. Perform a task with a
Adaptation: Skills are well

machine that it was not originally

developed and the individual can

intended to do (machine is not

modify movement patterns to fit

damaged and there is no danger in

special requirements.

performing the new task).

Key Words: adapts, alters, changes,
rearranges, reorganizes, revises,

Origination: Creating new

Examples: Constructs a new theory.

movement patterns to fit a

Develops a new and comprehensive

particular situation or specific

training programming. Creates a

problem. Learning outcomes

new gymnastic routine.

emphasize creativity based upon


Key Words: arranges, builds,

combines, composes, constructs,


highly developed skills.

creates, designs, initiate, makes,


O t h e r P s y c h o m o t o r D o m a i n Ta x o n o m i e s
As mentioned earlier, the committee did not produce a compilation for the psychomotor domain
model, but others have. The one discussed above is by Simpson (1972). There are two other
popular versions by Dave (1970) and Harrow (1972):
Dave (1975):


Example and Key Words (verbs)

Examples: Copying a work of art.

Imitation Observing and

Performing a skill while observing a

patterning behavior after


someone else. Performance

may be of low quality.

Key Words: copy, follow, mimic, repeat,

replicate, reproduce, trace

Examples: Being able to perform a skill on

Manipulation Being able

one's own after taking lessons or reading

to perform certain actions by

about it. Follows instructions to build a

memory or following


Key Words: act, build, execute, perform

Precision Refining,

Examples: Working and reworking

becoming more exact.

something, so it will be just right. Perform

Performing a skill within a

a skill or task without assistance.

high degree of precision


Demonstrate a task to a beginner.

Key Words: calibrate, demonstrate,
master, perfectionism

Examples: Combining a series of skills to

produce a video that involves music,
Articulation Coordinating

drama, color, sound, etc. Combining a

and adapting a series of

series of skills or activities to meet a novel

actions to achieve harmony


and internal consistency.

Key Words: adapt, constructs, combine,
creates, customize, modifies, formulate

Examples: Maneuvers a car into a tight

Naturalization Mastering
a high level performance
until it become secondnature or natural, without
needing to think much about

parallel parking spot. Operates a computer

quickly and accurately. Displays
competence while playing the piano.
Michael Jordan playing basketball or
Nancy Lopez hitting a golf ball.
Key Words: create, design, develop,
invent, manage, naturally

Harrow (1972):


Example and Key Words (verbs)

Reflex Movements Reactions

Examples: instinctive response

that are not learned, such as a

involuntary reaction

Key Words: react, respond

Fundamental Movements

Examples: perform a simple task

Basic movements such as

walking, or grasping.

Key Words: grasp an object, throw a


ball, walk

Perceptual Abilities

Examples: track a moving object,

Response to stimuli such as

recognize a pattern

visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or

tactile discrimination.

Key Words: catch a ball, draw or write

Physical Abilities (fitness)

Examples: gain strength, run a

Stamina that must be developed


for further development such as

strength and agility.

Key Words: agility, endurance, strength

Examples: Using an advanced series

of integrated movements, perform a
Skilled movements Advanced

role in a stage play or play in a set of

learned movements as one

series in a sports game.

would find in sports or acting.

Key Words: adapt, constructs, creates,

communication Use effective
body language, such as
gestures and facial expressions.

Examples: Express one's self by using

movements and gestures
Key Words: arrange, compose,

Blooms Taxonomy
"Taxonomy simply means classification, so the well-known taxonomy of learning objectives is an attempt
(within the behavioural paradigm) to classify forms and levels of learning. It identifies three domains of
learning (see below), each of which is organised as a series of levels or pre-requisites. It is suggested that one
cannot effectively or ought not try to address higher levels until those below them have been covered (it
is thus effectively serial in structure). As well as providing a basic sequential model for dealing with topics in the
curriculum, it also suggests a way of categorising levels of learning, in terms of the expected ceiling for a given
programme. Thus in the Cognitive domain, training for technicians may cover knowledge,



comprehension and application, but not concern itself with analysis and above, whereas full professional
training may be expected to include this and synthesis and evaluation as well.
Cognitive: the most-used of the domains, refers to knowledge structures (although sheer
knowing the facts is its bottom level). It can be viewed as a sequence of progressive
contextualisation of the material. (Based on Bloom, 1956)

The model above is included because it is still common currency, but Anderson and Krathwohl
(2001) have made some apparently minor but actually significant modifications, to come up with:

Revised taxonomy of the cognitive domain

following Anderson and Krathwohl (2001)
Note the new top category, which is about being able to create new knowledge within the domain, and
the move from nouns to verbs.
In higher education, "understand" is stillin my viewproblematic in its positioning. There is a higher,
contextualised level of "understanding" which comes only with attempting to evaluate ideas and to try
them out in new ways, or to "create" with them. It is what I expect at Master's level. The taxonomy is an
epistemological rather than psychological hierarchy, but it also has a basic chronological element: you
achieve certain levels before others. This higher, Gestalt, level of understanding comes last, in my
experience: my principal evidence is in the use of research methods. The "real", intuitive,
contextualised, critical, strategic understanding only happens when you have tried to be creative within
the field... Argue with me (use the "comments welcome" link below). And thanks to all the people who
have done so; I hope you found it a useful activity. I did! See more notes at the bottom of the page
arising from those discussions.

Affective: the Affective domain has received less attention, and is less intuitive than the
Cognitive. It is concerned with values, or more precisely perhaps with perception of value issues,
and ranges from mere awareness (Receiving), through to being able to distinguish implicit values
through analysis. (Kratwohl, Bloom and Masia (1964))

Psycho-Motor: Bloom never completed work on this domain, and there have been several
attempts to complete it. One of the simplest versions has been suggested by Dave (1975): it fits
with the model of developing skill put forward by Reynolds (1965), and it also draws attention to
the fundamental role of imitation in skill acquisition.