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Bloom's Taxonomy

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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 application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, rather than just remembering facts (rote learning), boring PowerPoint presentations and simple transfer of facts.

Bloom's taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three "domains": cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as "knowing/head", "feeling/heart" and "doing/hands" respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom's taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education. [From Wikipedia]

Bloom’s Taxonomy: Learning Domains

Bloom's Taxonomy model is in three parts, or 'overlapping domains'. Again, Bloom used rather academic language, but the meanings are simple to understand:

[Taxonomy-A set of classification principles or Structure; Domain-Category]

  • Cognitive domain (Intellectual Capability, i.e. Knowledge, or 'Think')
  • Affective domain (Feelings, Emotions and Behavior, i.e. Attitude, or 'Feel')
  • Psychomotor domain (Manual and Physical Skills, i.e. Skills, or 'Do')

This has given rise to the obvious short-hand variations on the theme which summarize the three domains; for example, Knowledge-Attitude-Skills, KAS-Model, Think-Feel-Do, etc.

In each of the three domains Bloom's Taxonomy is based on the premise that the categories are ordered in degree of difficulty. An important premise of Bloom's Taxonomy is that each category (or 'level') must be mastered before progressing to the next. As such the categories within each domain are levels of learning development, and these levels increase in difficulty.

The simple matrix structure enables a checklist or template to be constructed for the design of learning programs, training courses, lesson plans, etc. Effective learning - especially in organizations, where training is to be converted into organizational results - should arguably cover all the levels of each of the domains, where relevant to the situation and the learner.

The learner should benefit from development of knowledge and intellect (Cognitive Domain); attitude and beliefs (Affective Domain); and the ability to put physical and bodily skills into effect - to act (Psychomotor Domain).

Bloom’s Taxonomy Overview

Here's a really simple adapted 'at-a-glance' representation of Bloom's Taxonomy. The definitions are intended to be simple modern day language, to assist explanation and understanding. This simple overview can help you (and others) to understand and explain the taxonomy. Refer back to it when considering and getting to grips with the detailed structures - this overview helps to clarify and distinguish the levels. [Also called as KAS Model]

Cognitive: KnowledgeAffective: AttitudePsychomotor: Skills
1. Recall data 1. Receive (awareness) 1. Imitation (copy)
2. Understand 2. Respond (react) 2. Manipulation (follow instructions)
3. Apply (use) 3. Value (understand and act) 3. Develop Precision
4. Analyze (structure/elements) 4. Organize personal value system 4. Articulation (combine, integrate related skills)
5. Synthesize (create/build) 5. Internalize value system (adopt behavior)  5. Naturalization (automate, become expert)
6. Evaluate (assess, judge in relational terms)    

 

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, which are listed in order below, starting from the simplest behavior to the most complex. The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. Normally, the lower skills must be mastered before you move to the higher skills.

CategoryExamplesKey Words [Verbs]
Knowledge: Recall data or information. Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. Know the safety rules. Define a term. Arranges, defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states.
Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one's own words. Rewrites the principles of test writing. Explain in one's own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translates an equation into a computer spreadsheet. Comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives an example, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates.
Application: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place. Use a manual to calculate an employee's vacation time. Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test. Applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.
Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences. Troubleshoot a piece of equipment by using logical deduction. Recognize logical fallacies in reasoning. Gathers information from a department and selects the required tasks for training. Analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.
Synthesis: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure. Write a company operations or process manual. Design a machine to perform a specific task. Integrates training from several sources to solve a problem. Revises and process to improve the outcome. Categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes.
Evaluation: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials. Select the most effective solution. Hire the most qualified candidate. Explain and justify a new budget. Appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.

 

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy

Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom, revisited the cognitive domain in the learning taxonomy in the mid-nineties and made some changes, with perhaps the two most prominent ones being, 1) changing the names in the six categories from noun to verb forms, and 2) slightly rearranging them (Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, Wittrock, 2000; Pohl, 2000). This new taxonomy reflects a more active form of thinking and is perhaps more accurate:

CategoryExamplesKey Words [Verbs]
Remembering: Recall previous learned information. Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. Knows the safety rules. Defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states.
Understanding: Comprehending the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one's own words. Rewrites the principles of test writing. Explain in one's own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translates an equation into a computer spreadsheet. Comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives an example, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates.
Applying: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place. Use a manual to calculate an employee's vacation time. Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test. Applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.
Analyzing: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences. Troubleshoot a piece of equipment by using logical deduction. Recognize logical fallacies in reasoning. Gathers information from a department and selects the required tasks for training. Analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.
Evaluating: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials. Select the most effective solution. Hire the most qualified candidate. Explain and justify a new budget. Appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.
Creating: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure. Write a company operations or process manual. Design a machine to perform a specific task. Integrates training from several sources to solve a problem. Revises and process to improve the outcome. Categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes.

 

Affective Domain

The affective domain (Krathwohl, Bloom, Masia, 1973) includes the manner in which we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes. The five major categories are listed from the simplest behavior to the most complex:

CategoryExamplesKey Words [Verbs]
Receiving Phenomena: Awareness, willingness to hear, selected attention. Listen to others with respect. Listen for and remember the name of newly introduced people. Asks, chooses, describes, follows, gives, holds, identifies, locates, names, points to, selects, sits, erects, replies, uses.  
Responding to Phenomena: Active participation on the part of the learners. Attends and reacts to a particular phenomenon. Learning outcomes may emphasize compliance in responding, willingness to respond, or satisfaction in responding (motivation). Participates in class discussions.  Gives a presentation. Questions new ideals, concepts, models, etc. in order to fully understand them. Know the safety rules and practices them.   Answers, assists, aids, complies, conforms, discusses, greets, helps, labels, performs, practices, presents, reads, recites, reports, selects, tells, writes.
Valuing: The worth or value a person attaches to a particular object, phenomenon, or behavior. This ranges from simple acceptance to the more complex state of commitment.  Valuing is based on the internalization of a set of specified values, while clues to these values are expressed in the learner's overt behavior and are often identifiable. Demonstrates belief in the democratic process. Is sensitive towards individual and cultural differences (value diversity). Shows the ability to solve problems. Proposes a plan to social improvement and follows through with commitment. Informs management on matters that one feels strongly about. Completes, demonstrates, differentiates, explains, follows, forms, initiates, invites, joins, justifies, proposes, reads, reports, selects, shares, studies, works.
Organization: Organizes values into priorities by contrasting different values, resolving conflicts between them, and creating a unique value system.  The emphasis is on comparing, relating, and synthesizing values. Recognizes the need for balance between freedom and responsible behavior. Accepts responsibility for one's behavior. Explains the role of 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. Adheres, alters, arranges, combines, compares, completes, defends, explains, formulates, generalizes, identifies, integrates, modifies, orders, organizes, prepares, relates, synthesizes.
Internalizing values (characterization): Has a value system that controls their behavior. The behavior is pervasive, consistent, predictable, and most importantly, characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives are concerned with the student's general patterns of adjustment (personal, social, emotional). Shows self-reliance when working independently.  Cooperates in group activities (displays teamwork). Uses an objective approach in problem solving.  Displays a professional commitment to ethical practice on a daily basis. Revises judgments and changes behavior in light of new evidence. Values people for what they are, not how they look. Acts, discriminates, displays, influences, listens, modifies, performs, practices, proposes, qualifies, questions, revises, serves, solves, verifies.

 

Psychomotor Domain

The psychomotor domain 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. The seven major categories are listed from the simplest behavior to the most complex:

[The Simpson’s and Harrow’s psychomotor domains are especially useful for the development of children and young people, and for developing skills in adults that take people out of their comfort zones like . The Dave’s psychomotor domain is the simplest and generally easiest to apply in the corporate development environment. Both models offer different emotional perspectives and advantages: Check the relevance and importance of each before you implement.]

1. Simpson’s Psychomotor Domain

CategoryExamplesKey Words [Verbs]
Perception (awareness): The ability to use sensory cues to guide motor activity.  This ranges from sensory stimulation, through cue selection, to translation. Detects non-verbal communication cues. Estimate where a ball will land after it is thrown and then moving to the correct location to catch the ball. Adjusts 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. Chooses, describes, detects, differentiates, distinguishes, identifies, isolates, relates, selects.  
Set: Readiness to act. It includes mental, physical, and emotional sets. These three sets are dispositions that predetermine a person's response to different situations (sometimes called mindsets). Knows and acts upon a sequence of steps in a manufacturing process. Recognize one's abilities and limitations. Shows desire to learn a new process (motivation). NOTE: This subdivision of Psychomotor is closely related with the “Responding to phenomena” subdivision of the Affective domain. Begins, displays, explains, moves, proceeds, reacts, shows, states, volunteers.  
Guided Response: The early stages in learning a complex skill that includes imitation and trial and error. Adequacy of performance is achieved by practicing. Performs a mathematical equation as demonstrated. Follows instructions to build a model. Responds hand-signals of instructor while learning to operate a forklift. Copies, traces, follows, react, reproduce, responds.  
Mechanism (basic proficiency): This is the intermediate stage in learning a complex skill. Learned responses have become habitual and the movements can be performed with some confidence and proficiency. Use a personal computer. Repair a leaking faucet. Drive a car.   Assembles, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes, sketches.  
Complex Overt Response (Expert): The skillful performance of motor acts that involve complex movement patterns. Proficiency is indicated by a quick, accurate, and highly coordinated performance, requiring a minimum of energy. This category includes performing without hesitation, and automatic performance. For example, players are often utter sounds of satisfaction or expletives as soon as they hit a tennis ball or throw a football, because they can tell by the feel of the act what the result will produce. Maneuvers a car into a tight parallel parking spot. Operates a computer quickly and accurately. Displays competence while playing the piano.   Assembles, builds, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes, sketches. NOTE: The Key Words are the same as Mechanism, but will have adverbs or adjectives that indicate that the performance is quicker, better, more accurate, etc.
Adaptation: Skills are well developed and the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements. Responds effectively to unexpected experiences.  Modifies instruction to meet the needs of the learners. Perform a task with a machine that it was not originally intended to do (machine is not damaged and there is no danger in performing the new task). Adapts, alters, changes, rearranges, reorganizes, revises, varies.  
Origination: Creating new movement patterns to fit a particular situation or specific problem. Learning outcomes emphasize creativity based upon highly developed skills. Constructs a new theory. Develops a new and comprehensive training programming. Creates a new gymnastic routine. Arranges, builds, combines, composes, constructs, creates, designs, initiate, makes, originates.  

 

2. Dave’s Psychomotor Domain

CategoryExamplesKey Words [Verbs]
Imitation: Observing and patterning behavior after someone else. Performance may be of low quality. Copying a work of art. Performing a skill while observing a demonstrator. Copy, follow, mimic, repeat, replicate, reproduce, trace
Manipulation: Being able to perform certain actions by memory or following instructions. Being able to perform a skill on one's own after taking lessons or reading about it. Follows instructions to build a model. Act, execute, perform  
Precision: Refining, becoming more exact. Performing a skill within a high degree of precision. Working and reworking something, so it will be “just right.” Perform a skill or task without assistance. Demonstrate a task to a beginner. Calibrate, demonstrate, master, perfectionism  
Articulation: Coordinating and adapting a series of actions to achieve harmony and internal consistency. Combining a series of skills to produce a video that involves music, drama, color, sound, etc. Combining a series of skills or activities to meet a novel requirement. Adapt, constructs, creates, modifies  
Naturalization: Mastering a high level performance until it becomes second-nature or natural, without needing to think much about it. Maneuvers a car into a tight 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. Design, development  

 

3. Harrow’s Psychomotor Domain

CategoryExamplesKey Words [Verbs]
Reflex Movements: Reactions that are not learned, such as an involuntary reaction Instinctive response   React, respond  
Fundamental Movements: Basic movements such as walking, or grasping. Perform a simple task   Grasp and object, throw a ball, walk  
Perceptual Abilities: Response to stimuli such as visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or tactile discrimination. Track a moving object, recognize a pattern   Catch a ball, draw or write  
Physical Abilities (fitness): Stamina that must be developed for further development such as strength and agility. Gain strength, run a marathon   Agility, endurance, strength  
Skilled movements: Advanced learned movements as one would find in sports or acting. Using an advanced series of integrated movements, perform a role in a stage play or play in a set of series in a sports game. Adapt, constructs, creates, modifies  
No discursive communication: Use effective body language, such as gestures and facial expressions. Express one's self by using movements and gestures Interpretation   

 

Application of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy has therefore since 1956 provided a basis for ideas which have been used (and developed) around the world by academics, educators, teachers and trainers, for the preparation of learning evaluation materials, and also provided the platform for the complete 'Bloom's Taxonomy' (including the detail for the third 'Psychomotor Domain') as we see it today. Collectively these concepts which make up the whole Bloom Taxonomy continue to be useful and very relevant to the planning and design of: school, college and university education, adult and corporate training courses, teaching and lesson plans, and learning materials; they also serve as a template for the evaluation of: training, teaching, learning and development, within every aspect of education and industry.

If you are involved in the design, delivery or evaluation of teaching, training, courses, learning and lesson plans, you should find Bloom's Taxonomy useful, as a template, framework or simple checklist to ensure you are using the most appropriate type of training or learning in order to develop the capabilities required or wanted.

Bloom's Taxonomy provides an excellent structure for planning, designing, assessing and evaluating training and learning effectiveness. The model also serves as a sort of checklist, by which you can ensure that training is planned to deliver all the necessary development for students, trainees or learners, and a template by which you can assess the validity and coverage of any existing training, be it a course, a curriculum, or an entire training and development program for a large organization.

  • Provide a framework to develop and promote creative thinking skills in Education, Industry, Administration and Daily life.
  • Motivate you to understand and implement the Higher Order Thinking Skills [HOTS] which is a great aid for a meaningful and scientific Personal Development Program or Courses.
  • Deliver a method to design and develop a logical system to cultivate Attitudes and Beliefs which are especially useful in the modern day personal development industry.
  • Help to develop a system of categories of learning behavior to assist in the design and assessment of educational learning and training.
  • Most corporate trainers, HR professionals, coaches and teachers will benefit significantly by simply understanding the basics of Bloom's Taxonomy.
  • Propose and suggest a plan for skills development related to manual tasks and physical movements: Soft skills, Business and social skills, Operations Etc.

Simpson's version is particularly useful if you are taking adults out of their comfort zones, because it addresses sensory, perception (and by implication attitudinal) and preparation issues. For example anything fearsome or threatening, like emergency routines, conflict situations, tough physical tasks or conditions.

Harrow's version is particularly useful if you are developing skills which are intended ultimately to express, convey and/or influence feelings, because its final level specifically addresses the translation of bodily activities (movement, communication, body language, etc) into conveying feelings and emotion, including the effect on others. For example, public speaking, training itself, and high-level presentation skills.

The Harrow and Simpson models are also appropriate for other types of adult development. For example, teaching adults to run a difficult meeting, or make a parachute jump, will almost certainly warrant attention on sensory perception and awareness, and on preparing oneself mentally, emotionally, and physically. In such cases therefore, Simpson's or Harrow's model would be more appropriate than Dave's.

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See the References Section: Books, Journal Articles, Periodicals, Conferences, Reports, Websites, Electronic Sources, Arts, Sound Recordings, Performances, Films, Interviews, Patents, Case Studies, Miscellaneous.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_taxonomy
http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/bloomtax.htm
http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/goals-objectives/writing-objectives
http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html
http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching-resources/effective-practice/revised-blooms-taxonomy/
http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/
http://epltt.coe.uga.edu/index.php?title=Bloom%27s_Taxonomy
http://www.businessballs.com/bloomstaxonomyoflearningdomains.htm


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