Developed by Dr. Benjamin S. Bloom (1956), Bloom’s taxonomy is classification structure of learning. It one of the concepts that performance improvement professionals should understand because so often we speak of “skill building” or “building competencies” and usually this kind of vague statement or objective is undermined by a lack of precision in the learning objective: specifically what level of knowledge does a role require? How do we know when someone has the requisite knowledge?
His model has three domains:
- Cognitive domain (intellectual capability – knowledge or “think”)
- Psychomotor domain (manual and physical skills – skills or “do”)
- Affective domain (feelings, emotions and behavior attitude or “feel”)
In each domain, there are levels of learning ordered in degree of difficulty. The Cognitive domain is most frequently referenced of the domains. In 2001 there were some adjustments to the structure, creating what is called Bloom’s revised taxonomy. It is the revised taxonomy for the cognitive domain that is outlined below.
Recall previous learned information.
Examples: Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. Knows the safety rules.
Key Words: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states.
Comprehending the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words.
Examples: 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.
Key Words: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives an example, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates.
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.
Examples: Use a manual to calculate an employee’s vacation time. Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test.
Key Words: applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.
Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.
Examples: 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.
Key Words: analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.
Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.
Examples: Select the most effective solution. Hire the most qualified candidate. Explain and justify a new budget.
Key Words: appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.
Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.
Examples: 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.
Key Words: categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes.