The Three Domains of Learning

Believing that there were more than one (1) type of learning, Benjamin Bloom and a committee of colleagues in 1956, identified three domains of educational activities; the cognitive, referring to mental skills; affective referring to growth in feeling or emotion; and psychomotor, referring to manual or physical skills. These terms were regarded as too technical by practicing teachers and so the domains were translated to simpler terms commonly used by teachers; knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA).

These domains are organized into categories or levels and arranged in hierarchical order from the simplest behavior to the most complex behavior. To ensure that the learning outcomes are measurable, demonstrable and verifiable, the outcomes should be stated as concrete and active verbs. In mid-nineties, a former student of Bloom, Lorin Anderson, reviewed the cognitive domain objectives and effected some changes. The two most prominent of these are (a) changing the names in the six subdivisions from noun to verb and (b) slightly re-arranging the order. 

DOMAIN I: Cognitive (Knowledge)

Categories/Levels Outcomes Verbs Learning Outcomes Statements
Remembering: recall of previously learned information define, describe, identify, label, match, list, name, outline, recall, recognize, reproduce, select, state Recite the multiplication tables; match the word with the parts of the picture of a sewing machine
Understanding: comprehending the meaning, translation and interpretation of instructions; state a problem in one’s own word distinguish, estimate, explain, give example, interpret, paraphrase, summarize Explain in one’s own words the stages in the life cycle of a butterfly; distinguish the different geometric figures
Applying: using what was learned in the classroom into similar new situations apply, change, compute, construct, demonstrate, discover, modify, prepare, produce, show, solve, use Use a mathematical formula to solve an algebra problem; prepare daily menus for one week for a family of six.
Analyzing: separating materials or concept into component parts to understand the whole analyze, compare, contrast. diagram, differentiate, distinguish, illustrate, outline, select Observe a classroom and list down the things to be improved differentiate the parts of a tree
Evaluating: judging the value of an idea, object or material compare, conclude, criticize, critique, defend, evaluate, relate, support, justify Defend a research proposal; select the most effective solution; critique a class demonstration
Creating: building a structure or pattern; putting parts together categorize, combine, compile, compose, devise, design, plan, organize, revise, rearrange, generate, modify Compile personal records and documents into a portfolio; write a syllabus for a school subject
The Categories-Levels of Cognitive Domain Learning Objectives arranged Hierarchically
The Categories-Levels of Cognitive Domain Learning Objectives arranged Hierarchically

DOMAIN II: Psychomotor (Skills)

In the early seventies, E Simpson, Dave and A.S. Harrow recommended categories for the Psychomotor Domain which included physical coordination, movement and use of the motor skills body parts. The development of these skills requires constant practice in accuracy and speed. Simpson contributed 7 categories, Dave 5 categories, and Harrow 6 categories. They have been re-organized and simplified into 4 categories or levels.

Categories/Levels Outcomes Verbs Learning Outcomes Statements
Observing: active mental attention to a physical activity watch, detect, distinguish, differentiate, describe, relate, select Detect non-verbal communication cues; watch a more experienced person; observe and read directions
Imitating: attempt to copy a physical behavior begin, explain, move, display, proceed, react, show, state, volunteer Show understanding and do sequence of steps with assistance; recognize one’s limitations
Practising: performing a specific activity repeatedly bend, calibrate, construct, differentiate, dismantle, display, fasten, fix, grasp, grind, handle, measure, mix, operate, manipulate, mend Operate quickly and accurately; display competence while performing, performance is moving towards becoming automatic and smooth.
Adapting: fine tuning the skill and making minor adjustments to attain perfection organize, relax, shorten, sketch, write, re-arrange, compose, create, design, originate Perform automatically; construct a new scheme/ sequence; apply skill in new situation; create a new routine, develop a new program
The Categories-Levels of Psychomotor Domain Learning Objectives arranged Hierarchically
The Categories-Levels of Psychomotor Domain Learning Objectives arranged Hierarchically

DOMAIN III: Affective (Attitude)

The affective domain refers to the way in which we deal with situations emotionally such as feelings, appreciation, enthusiasm, motivation, values, and attitude. The taxonomy is ordered into 5 levels as the person progresses towards internalization in which the attitude or feeling consistently guides or controls a person’s behavior.

Categories/Levels Outcomes Verbs Learning Outcomes Statements
Receiving: being aware or sensitive to something and being willing to listen or pay attention select, point to, sit, choose, describe, follow, hold, identify, name, reply Listen to others with respect, try to remember profile and facts
Responding: showing commitment to respond in some measure to the idea or phenomenon answer, assist, and, comply, conform, discuss, greet, help, perform practice, read, recite, report, tell, write Participate in discussions, gives expectation; know the rules and practice them; question concepts in order to understand them well
Valuing: showing willingness to be perceived as valuing or favoring certain ideas complete, demonstrate, differentiate, explain, follow, invite, join, justify, propose, share, study, perform Demonstrate belief in the concept or process; show ability to resolve
Organizing: arranging values into priorities, creating a unique value system by comparing, relating and synthesizing values arrange, combine, complete, adhere, alter, defend, explain, formulate, integrate, organize, relate, synthesize Accept responsibility, recognize the need for balance between freedom and responsible behavior, explain how to plan to solve problem; prioritize time effectively for family, work and personal life problems/conflicts propose plan for improvement, inform management/ supervisor on matters that need attention
Internalizing: practicing value system that controls one’s behavior; exhibiting behavior that is consisted pervasive, predictable and characteristics of the person act, display, influence, listen, discriminate, listen, modify, perform, revise, solve, verify Show self-reliance when asking; cooperate in group activities; demonstrate objectivity in problem-solving; revise judgment in light of new evidences, value people for what they are and not for how they look.
The Categories:Levels of Affective Domain Learning Objectives arranged Hierarchically
The Categories:Levels of Affective Domain Learning Objectives arranged Hierarchically