Home Assessment Resources Bloom's Taxonomy: Three Learning Domains
Bloom's Taxonomy: Three Learning Domains

1. Bloom's Taxonomy - Cognitive Domain - (intellect - knowledge - 'think')

An adjusted model of Bloom's Taxonomy 1956 Cognitive Domain was produced by Anderson and Krathwhol in 2001 in which the levels five and six (synthesis and evaluation) were inverted and all the levels became verbs, suggesting that learning is an active process (reference: Anderson & Krathwohl, A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, 2001). This is why you may see different versions of this Cognitive Domain model. While debate continues as to the order of levels five and six, this version is gaining wider acceptance overall.

Cognitive Domain

Category or 'level'

Behavior Descriptions

Examples of activity to be trained, or demonstration and evidence to be measured

'Key words' (verbs which describe the activity to be trained or measured at each level)


Recall or recognize information

Multiple-choice test, recount facts or statistics, recall a process, rules, definitions; quote law or procedure

Arrange, define, describe, label, list, memorize, recognize, relate, reproduce, select, state


Understand meaning, re-state data in one's own words, interpret, extrapolate, translate

Explain or interpret meaning from a given scenario or statement, suggest treatment, reaction or solution to given problem, create examples or metaphors

Explain, reiterate, reword, critique, classify, summarize, illustrate, translate, review, report, discuss, re-write, estimate, interpret, theorize, paraphrase, reference, example


Use or apply knowledge, put theory into practice, use knowledge in response to real circumstances

Put a theory into practical effect, demonstrate, solve a problem, manage an activity

Use, apply, discover, manage, execute, solve, produce, implement, construct, change, prepare, conduct, perform, react, respond, role-play


Interpret elements, organizational principles, structure, construction, internal relationships; quality, reliability of individual components

Identify constituent parts and functions of a process or concept, or de-construct a methodology or process, making qualitative assessment of elements, relationships, values and effects; measure requirements or needs

Analyze, break down, catalogue, compare, quantify, measure, test, examine, experiment, relate, graph, diagram, plot, extrapolate, value, divide

5. Evaluating

Assess effectiveness of whole concepts, in relation to values, outputs, efficacy, viability; critical thinking, strategic comparison and review; judgment relating to external criteria

Review strategic options or plans in terms of efficacy, return on investment or cost-effectiveness, practicability; assess sustainability; perform a SWOT analysis in relation to alternatives; produce a financial justification for a proposition or venture, calculate the effects of a plan or strategy; perform a detailed risk analysis with recommendations and justifications

Review, justify, assess, present a case for, defend, report on, investigate, direct, appraise, argue, project-manage


Develop new unique structures, systems, models, approaches, ideas; creative thinking, operations

Develop plans or procedures, design solutions, integrate methods, resources, ideas, parts; create teams or new approaches, write protocols or contingencies

Develop, plan, build, create, design, organize, revise, formulate, propose, establish, assemble, integrate, re-arrange, modify

Based on the Anderson and Krathwhol in 2001

2. Bloom's Taxonomy - Affective Domain - (feeling, emotions - attitude - 'feel')

Bloom's Taxonomy second domain, the Affective Domain, was detailed by Bloom, Krathwhol and Masia in 1964 (Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Volume II, The Affective Domain. Bloom, Krathwohl and Masia.) Bloom's theory advocates this structure and sequence for developing attitude - also now commonly expressed in the modern field of personal development as 'beliefs'. Again, as with the other domains, the Affective Domain detail provides a framework for teaching, training, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of training and lesson design and delivery, and also the retention by and affect upon the learner or trainee.

Affective Domain

Category or 'level'

Behavior descriptions

Examples of experience, or demonstration and evidence to be measured

'Key words' (verbs which describe the activity to be trained or measured at each level)

1. Receiving

Open to experience, willing to hear

Listen to teacher or trainer, take interest in session or learning experience, take notes, turn up, make time for learning experience, participate passively

Ask, listen, focus, attend, take part, discuss, acknowledge, hear, be open to, retain, follow, concentrate, read, do, feel

2. Responding

React and participate actively

Participate actively in group discussion, active participation in activity, interest in outcomes, enthusiasm for action, question and probe ideas, suggest interpretation

React, respond, seek clarification, interpret, clarify, provide other references and examples, contribute, question, present, cite, become animated or excited, help team, write, perform

3. Valuing

Attach values and express personal opinions

Decide worth and relevance of ideas, experiences; accept or commit to particular stance or action

Argue, challenge, debate, refute, confront, justify, persuade, criticize,

4. Organizing or Conceptualizing Values

Reconcile internal conflicts; develop value system

Qualify and quantify personal views, state personal position and reasons, state beliefs

Build, develop, formulate, defend, modify, relate, prioritize, reconcile, contrast, arrange, compare

5. Internalizing or Characterizing Values

Adopt belief system and philosophy

Self-reliant; behave consistently with personal value set

Act, display, influence, solve, practice,

Based on the 'Taxonomy Of Educational Objectives: Volume 2, The Affective Domain' (Bloom, Masia, Krathwohl) 1964. See also 'Taxonomy Of Educational Objectives: Handbook 1, The Cognitive Domain' (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, Krathwohl) 1956. This table is adapted and reproduced with permission from Allyn & Bacon, Boston USA, being the publishers and copyright owners of 'Taxonomy Of Educational Objectives' (Bloom et al 1956).

3. Bloom's Taxonomy - Behavioral (Psychomotor) Domain - (physical - skills - 'do')

The Psychomotor Domain was established to address skills development relating to the physical dimensions of accomplishing a task. Because, 'motor' skills extend beyond the originally traditionally imagined manual and physical skills, always consider using this domain, even if you think your environment is covered adequately by the Cognitive and Affective Domains. Whatever the situation, it is likely that the Psychomotor Domain is significant.

Dave’s Psychomotor (Behavioral) Domain

Category or 'level'

Behavior Descriptions

Examples of activity or demonstration and evidence to be measured

'Key words' (verbs which describe the activity to be trained or measured at each level)


Copy action of another; observe and replicate

Watch teacher or trainer and repeat action, process or activity

Copy, follow, replicate, repeat, adhere, attempt, reproduce, organize, sketch, duplicate


Reproduce activity from instruction or memory

Carry out task from written or verbal instruction

Re-create, build, perform, execute, implement, acquire, conduct, operate


Execute skill reliably, independent of help, activity is quick, smooth, and accurate

Perform a task or activity with expertise and to high quality without assistance or instruction; able to demonstrate an activity to other learners

Demonstrate, complete, show, perfect, calibrate, control, achieve, accomplish, master, refine


Adapt and integrate expertise to satisfy a new context or task

Relate and combine associated activities to develop methods to meet varying, novel requirements

Solve, adapt, combine, coordinate, revise, integrate, adapt, develop, formulate, modify, master


Instinctive, effortless, unconscious mastery of activity and related skills at strategic level

Define aim, approach and strategy for use of activities to meet strategic need

Construct, compose, create, design, specify, manage, invent, project-manage, originate

Based on RH Dave's version of the Psychomotor Domain ('Developing and Writing Behavioral Objectives', 1970. The theory was first presented at a Berlin conference 1967, hence you may see Dave's model attributed to 1967 or 1970).

Adapted from: http://www.businessballs.com

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