What is Bloom's Taxonomy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2019
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Bloom's Taxonomy, also known as the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, is a hierarchical ranking of important steps in the learning process. The goal of Bloom's Taxonomy is to create a system which helps educators classify learning so that they can help their students develop skills. The system was developed in 1956 at the University of Chicago by Benjamin Bloom and other educators who were interested in improving the approach to education.

According to Bloom's Taxonomy, there are three major domains in learning: affective, cognitive, and psychomotor. The affective domain involves attitude and emotions, while the cognitive domain involves the development of critical thinking skills and knowledge. In the psychomotor domain, various physical tasks including manipulation of objects can be found. Each domain is ranked hierarchically to stress the idea that students must have a firm foundation in each area within the domain before proceeding to the next.

In the affective domain, the subcategories are: receiving, responding, valuing, organizing, and characterizing. Students who develop good skills in the affective domain will find it easier to learn, and to function with other people, because the affective domain is heavily involved with social skills and interactions. Failure to progress in this area can make it challenging for a student to learn, and can interfere with the child's social life.


The cognitive domain includes knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, also known as remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The two different sets of terms reflect different organizations of Bloom's Taxonomy, with the first set being the originals, while the second set were developed in later years as researchers began to refine the system. Each stage involves a specific type of cognitive skills, such as the ability to learn and absorb new information in knowledge/remembering.

In the psychomotor domain, Bloom's Taxonomy includes perception, set, guided response, mechanism, adaptation, origination, and complex overt response. These varying areas of physical skill range from the ability to learn new physical tasks to the ability to develop new physical approaches to a problem. Since learning can often have a physical component, a student who struggles in the psychomotor domain may struggle with other aspects of learning.

Educators can apply Bloom's Taxonomy in a number of ways. It can be integrated into lesson plans, with teachers building foundations in various areas before moving on to more complex concepts, and it can also be used to help teachers evaluate students who appear to have special needs. Identifying the areas within Bloom's Taxonomy in which a student has trouble can help a teacher tailor a program to the student to help him or her improve.


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