Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). The taxonomy was first presented in 1956 through the publication “The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain,” by Benjamin Bloom (editor), M. D. Englehart, E. J. Furst, W. H. Hill, and David Krathwohl. It is considered to be a foundational and essential element within the education community as evidenced in the 1981 survey “Significant writings that have influenced the curriculum: 1906-1981”, by H. G. Shane and the 1994 yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. A great mythology has grown around the taxonomy, possibly due to many people learning about the taxonomy through second hand information. Bloom himself considered the Handbook, “one of the most widely cited yet least read books in American education.”,
Key to understanding the taxonomy and its revisions, variations, and addenda over the years is an understanding that the original Handbook was intended only to focus on one of the three domains (as indicated in the domain specification in title), but there was expectation that additional material would be generated for the other domains (as indicated in the numbering of the handbook in the title). Bloom also considered the initial effort to be a starting point, as evidenced in a memorandum from 1971 in which he said, “Ideally each major field should have its own taxononmy in its own language – more detaild, closer to the special language and thinking of its experts, reflecting its own appropriate sub-divisions and levels of education, with possible new categories, combinations of categories and omitting categories as appropriate.”
Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains:” Affective, Psychomotor, and Cognitive. Within the taxonomy learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels (Orlich, et al. 2004). A goal of Bloom’s Taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.
Skills in the affective domain describe the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel another living thing’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 processes to the highest:
The lowest level; the student passively pays attention. Without this level no learning can occur.
The student actively participates in the learning process, not only attends to a stimulus; the student also reacts in some way.
The student attaches a value to an object, phenomenon, or piece of information.
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.
The student holds a particular value or belief that now exerts influence on his/her behaviour so that it becomes a characteristic.
Skills in the psychomotor domain describe the ability to physically manipulate a tool or instrument like a hand or a hammer. Psychomotor objectives usually focus on change and/or development in behavior and/or skills.
Bloom and his colleagues never created subcategories for skills in the psychomotor domain, but since then other educators have created their own psychomotor taxonomies.
Categories in the cognitive domain of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001)Skills in the cognitive domain revolve around knowledge, comprehension, and critical thinking of a particular topic. Traditional education tends to emphasize the skills in this domain, particularly the lower-order objectives.
There are six levels in the taxonomy, moving through the lowest order processes to the highest:
Exhibit memory of previously-learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers
Knowledge of specifics – terminology, specific facts
Knowledge of ways and means of dealing with specifics – conventions, trends and sequences, classifications and categories, criteria, methodology
Knowledge of the universals and abstractions in a field – principles and generalizations, theories and structures
Questions like: What are the health benefits of eating apples?
Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions, and stating main ideas
Questions like: Compare the health benefits of eating apples vs. oranges.
Using new knowledge. Solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way
Questions like: Which kinds of apples are best for baking a pie, and why?
Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations
Analysis of elements
Analysis of relationships
Analysis of organizational principles
Questions like: List four ways of serving foods made with apples and explain which ones have the highest health benefits. Provide references to support your statements.
Compile information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions
Production of a unique communication
Production of a plan, or proposed set of operations
Derivation of a set of abstract relations
Questions like: Convert an “unhealthy” recipe for apple pie to a “healthy” recipe by replacing your choice of ingredients. Explain the health benefits of using the ingredients you chose vs. the original ones.
Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria
Judgments in terms of internal evidence
Judgments in terms of external criteria
Questions like: Do you feel that serving apple pie for an after school snack for children is healthy? Why or why not?
Some critiques of Bloom’s Taxonomy’s (cognitive domain) admit the existence of these six categories, but question the existence of a sequential, hierarchical link. Also the revised edition of Bloom’s taxonomy has moved Synthesis in higher order than Evaluation. Some consider the three lowest levels as hierarchically ordered, but the three higher levels as parallel. Others say that it is sometimes better to move to Application before introducing concepts. This thinking would seem to relate to the method of problem-based learning.
Taken from Wikipedia