Bloom's Taxonomy Yields Understanding For Educators
Many teachers approach learning from different approaches. But
having a healthy knowledge of how Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning
defines and expands on the learning domain approach is important
for today's teacher.
First created in 1956, by Dr. Benjamin Bloom, the concept was
created for academic learning in the beginning, but it is easily
adapted for all different kinds of learning. His first foray into
the subject was called "Taxonomy of Education and Objectives"
and was started by Dr. Bloom in 1948.
Dr. Bloom was involved in a committee of different psychologists
that specialize in Education in America. The committee was formed
to try and come up with a better system of learning. The committee
wanted to create categories of learning and learning behavior
to assess and better design different types of educational learning.
The basic model for Dr. Bloom's system is made up three distinct
parts. He refers to them in domains, and sometimes these three-part
overlap. Dr. Bloom is an academic, and he uses language that is
found in academia, but it is not too difficult to understand for
the average person.
Dr. Bloom's system is made up of three parts or domains:
Cognitive- This is the part or domain that involves the
mind and the intellect. It deals with thinking, and knowledge,
and the ability of a person in intellectual pursuits.
Affective- This is the part that deals with a person and
how they act and feel. Emotions, and feelings, and different behaviors
such as a person's individual attitude are characteristic of this
Psychomotor - This deals with the physical realm, manual
skills, actions and physical skills.
Some people have tried to sum up these three domains by abbreviation.
In doing this, a lot of what Dr. Bloom explored is lost. Some
of the abbreviations used are such as Skills-Attitude-Knowledge,
or "Do-then Think-then Feel" and others.
Dr. Blooms Taxonomy is based on the premise that each of the
three domains are arraigned in order of the difficulty in which
they exist. According to Dr. Bloom each different domain has to
be conquered, or "mastered" before a person can move on to the
Each of the domains involved have categories and levels within
it. Each domain has these categories and as you go along the difficulty
gets harder the further along that you go.
Each domain is set up in this sort of structure. It is in a matrix
format, which allows a person to set up a template, or a checklist.
As a teacher, a person can use Bloom's Taxonomy to help design
and set up different elements of what they are trying to teach.
This method lends itself to a lot of different type of teaching
In most cases, as a learner continues along the path of learning,
they should realize a positive effect or benefit from each of
these elements, usually in order:
Domain: Cognitive- Intellect and development of ones Knowledge
Domain: Affective- The beliefs and various attitudes in learning
for a person
Domain: Psychomotor- Putting bodily and physical skill into
When he created his Taxonomy, Dr. Bloom was aiming at creating
to further understanding and in support of education of an academic
nature, but it is also transferable to other types and categories
of learning. In the beginning, Dr. Bloom thought that Education
in itself should have a primary focus on "Mastery" of different
topics and concepts. He also felt education should be self-promoting,
and lead to a gradual increase to higher kinds of learning and
He did not want learning to be merely a by rote approach, to
simply have facts transferred back and forth in a utilitarian
Dr. Bloom illustrated in his research years ago that a lot of
teaching as we know it tends to be trained on recalling information,
and transferring facts. He accurately pointed out that such learning
is located at the lowest rung of the training level.
In his research Dr. Bloom points out that true learning is coupled
with personal development in a meaningful manner. This is a huge
challenge for teachers, and remains a central issue to overcome
in approaching teaching.
Don't be intimidated by the Fancy Terms
Dr. Bloom and his research, his design of Domains appears to
the outsider as something horribly complex. A lot of this can
be traced to language.
At the simplest level, his terms can be boiled down. Taxonomy
just means "a group of principals for classification or definition"
Taxonomy can also be construed even more simply in one word: Structure.
As for the term Domain it just means type or category.
The model that Dr. Bloom set up in his Taxonomy is fairly logical
one. It has elements that can be adapted to the classroom, in
setting up lesson plans that are scaffolded for different levels
and in learning how to apply various educational standards and
objectives. It is also one method to help define and judge the
outcome of learning in the classroom
In its Simplest Terms Dr. Bloom's Taxonomy can be very
simplistically summed up in a few sentences, ones that might be
easier to help understand his model:
The Taxonomy model is a form of a defined checklist, and it helps
design, assess, evaluate, and plan.
In the classroom, if you are aware and have a basic grasp of
each of the three domains: Affective, Cognitive, and Psychomotor,
and if you can see how each relates to elements of your teaching,
then you will be able to use his model as tools to create effective
If you design or construct any of your own curriculum using Dr.
Bloom's work is helpful in not only the design and construction
of your lessons. Rather, it is also very effective in helping
to figure out if what you are teaching is getting through.
The Taxonomy model of Dr. Bloom is helpful as an assessment tool,
and can be used to assess individual parts of a lesson plan, the
progress of different students in a class or program, or to simply
develop a successful lesson into a template to use again.