Bloom’s Taxonomy

The taxonomy of Educational Objectives or Bloom’s Taxonomy, is a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). The taxonomy was proposed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist at the University of Chicago.

Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains” as follows:

  • Affective;
  • Psycho-motor;
  • Cognitive.

A goal of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all the three domains; creating a more holistic form of education. However, most references to the Bloom’s Taxonomy only notice the Cognitive domain.

1.  Affective domain:

Skills in the affective domain describe the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel another person’s pain or joy. Affective objectives typically target the awareness and growth in attitudes, emotion, and feelings. There are five levels in the affective domain moving through the lowest order process to the highest, as follows:

  • Receiving : The lowest level; the student passively pays attention. Without this level, no learning can occur.
  • Responding: The student actively participates in the learning process; not only attends to a stimulus; the students also reacts in some way.
  • Valuing: The student attaches a value to an object, phenomenon, or piece of information.
  • Organizing: The student can put together different values, information and ideas and accommodate them within his/her own schema; comparing; relating and elaborating on what has been learned.
  • Characterizing: The students holds a particular value or belief that now exerts influence on his/her behaviour so that it becomes a characteristic.

2. Psycho-motor domain:

Skills in the psycho-motor domain describe the ability to physically manipulate a tool or instrument like a handsaw or a hammer.

Psycho-motor objectives usually focus on changes and / or development in behaviour and / or skills. However Bloom and his colleagues never created sub-categories for skills in the psycho-motor domain.

3.  Cognitive domain:

Skills in the cognitive domain revolve around knowledge, comprehension, and “thinking through” a particular topic. Traditional education tends to emphasize the skills in this domain, particular the lower-order objectives.There are six levels in the taxonomy, moving through the lowest order process to the highest:

1.  Knowledge: Exhibit memory of previously learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts, and answers.

  • Learner objectives: To define, distinguish, acquire, identify, recall, or recognize various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit facts, conventions, categories in ways that enable learners to demonstrate knowledge.

2.  Comprehension: Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions and stating main ideas.

  • Learner objectives: To translate, transform, give in own words, illustrate, prepare, read, represent, change, rephrase, or restate various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit definitions, words, phrases, relationships, principles in ways that enable learners to demonstrate comprehension.

3.  Application: Using new knowledge, solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way.

  • Learner objectives: To apply, generalize, relate, choose, develop, organize, use, transfer, restructure, or classify various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit principles, laws, conclusions in ways that enable learners to apply what they have learned.

4.  Analysis: Examine and break information into parts by identifying motive or causes; make inferences and find evidences to support generalizations.

  • Learners objectives: To distinguish, detect, identify, classify, discriminate, recognize, categorize, or deduce various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit elements, hypotheses, assumptions, statements of intent or fact in ways that encourage learners to critically analyze information.

5.  Synthesis: Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions.

  • Learner objectives: To write, tell, relate, produce, originate, modify, or document various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit structures, patterns, designs, relations in ways that encourage learners to form new structures of knowledge.

6.  Evaluation: Present and defend opinions by making judgment about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria.

  • Learner objectives: To judge, argue, validate, assess, appraise various forms of information.
  • Teacher tasks: To present and / or elicit from learners different qualitative judgments.

Further Readings:

  • Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals; pp. 201–207; B. S. Bloom (Ed.) Susan Fauer Company, Inc. 1956.
  • A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing — A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives; Lorin W. Anderson, David R. Krathwohl, Peter W. Airasian, Kathleen A. Cruikshank, Richard E. Mayer, Paul R. Pintrich, James Raths and Merlin C. Wittrock (Eds.) Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 2001
  • “Taxononmy of Educational Objectives. Handbook II: The affective domain; Krathwohl, D. R., Bloom, B. S., Masia, B. B.; 1964.

Read more @ :

Teacher Development by R.F.  McNergney and C.A. Carrier, 1981, New York: Macmillan.

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