What are the three domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy?

What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Bloom’s taxonomy is a set of three hierarchical models used to classify educational learning objectives into levels of complexity and specificity. The models organize learning objectives into three different domains: Cognitive, Affective and Sensory/Psychomotor.

Background Information:

  • The taxonomy was proposed by Benjamin Bloom in 1956, He was an educational psychologist at the University of Chicago.
  • The first volume of taxonomy, Handbook I: Cognitive was published in 1956
  • The second volume of taxonomy, Handbook II: Affective was published in 1964.
  • The framework was revised in 2001, called revised Bloom’s taxonomy.

What are the three domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy?

The three domain’s of boom taxonomy is

1. The cognitive domain ( Knowledge-based)

2. The Affective domain ( Emotion-based)

3. The psychomotor domain ( Action based)

1. The cognitive domain:

In the original version of the taxonomy, the cognitive domain is further divided into 6 levels. Revised edition of Bloom’s taxonomy In  2001, the levels are slightly different from original taxonomy: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, Create (rather than Synthesize). the name is changed from noun to verb form.

Illustration showing the difference between Original Bloom's taxonomy and Revised Bloom's taxonomy
Illustration showing the difference between Original Bloom’s taxonomy and Revised Bloom’s taxonomy

Original Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive domain ( 1956)

Level-1. Knowledge: It involves the recall of specifics and universals, the recall of methods and processes, or the recall of a pattern, structure, or setting.

Level-2. Comprehension: It refers to a type of understanding or apprehension such that the individual knows what is being communicated and can make use of the material or idea being communicated without necessarily relating it to other material or seeing its fullest implications.

Level-3. Application: It refers to the “use of abstractions in particular and concrete situations.”

Level-4. The analysis: represents the “breakdown of a communication into its constituent elements or parts such that the relative hierarchy of ideas is made clear and/or the relations between ideas expressed are made explicit.”

Level-5. Synthesis: It involves the “putting together of elements and parts so as to form a whole.”

Level-6. Evaluation: produces “judgments about the value of material and methods for given purposes.

Revised Bloom Taxonomy of the cognitive domain ( 2001)

Bloom’s original taxonomy was revised by his old students Loris W. Anderson and David R. Krathwohl in 2001. It is divided into six levels these are-

Level-1: Remembering:

bring, recognizing and recalling relevant knowledge from long term memory.

Example: Memorize poem, recall state name and remembring maths formula.

Level-2. Understanding:

Constructing the meaning of from oral, written and graphic message through summarizing, interpreting, classifying, comparing etc.

Example: Organize animal kingdom based on a given structure, illustrate the difference between square and rectangle.

Level-3. Applying:

Constitute using the procedure for executing.

Example: Use a formula to solve a new problem

Level-4. Analyzing:

Breaking materials or concepts into small parts, determining how the one parts relate to other parts or how the parts related to overall structure or purpose.

Example: Why are Dolphins called mammals, identify why the machine is not working.

Level 5. Evaluate:

Making a judgement based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.

Example: Making a judgement regarding an ethical dilemma, interpret the significance of the given law of physics.

Level 6. Create:

Positioning elements together to form a rational or functioning whole; recognizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning or procedure. Example: Design a new solution to an ‘Old’ problem that acknowledge the previous failures, write an essay based on a given theme

Bloom taxonomy verb for critical thinking

Bloom taxonomy verb for critical thinking
Image source: Google by Teach Thought Staff

2. The Affective domain

Skills in the affective domain describe the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel other living things’ 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:

Five level of Affective domain

1. Receiving:  The lowest level; the student passively pays attention. Without this level, no learning can occur. Receiving is about student memory and recognition as well.

  • Attending the learning session
  • Be aware of what knowledge is being imparted.
  • Be willing to hear/ receive the knowledge that is being imparted
  • Be attentive to listen to whatever the knowledge being imported.

Example: Listen to and be aware of the names of newly introduce participants.

2. Responding: The student actively participates in the learning process, not only attends to a stimulus; the student also reacts in some way

  • Be willing
  • react
  • Be satisfied to respond ( be motivated to respond)

Example: Participating in a group discussion or gives a presentation.

3. Valuing: The student attaches a value to an object, phenomenon, or a piece of information. The student associates a value or some values to the knowledge they acquired.

  • Attach value to the phenomenon
  • Strongly associated with the topic
  • Demonstrate commitment to a certain value

Example: proposing a plan to bring about improvement on a social level.

4. Organisation: The student can put together different values, information and ideas and accommodate them within his/her own schema:; comparing, relating and elaborate on what he has been learned

  • Prioritise different value, resolve conflicts.
  • Emphasis prioritise to other people

Example: Emphasis priorities work-life balance at the workplace or freedom of speech with responsive behaviour.

5. Characterisation by value set: The student at this level tries to build abstract knowledge

  • Completely internalise his/her values and behave in accordance
  • Be predictable in his/her behaviour and in supporting these values
  • Let his her value system control behaviour.

Example: Displays consistently through commitment towards the ethical practice of the value system or Multilevel marketing business need employes to associate this level of emotion.

3. The Psychomotor domain

The psychomotor objective is specific to physical function, reflex actions and body movements to interpret information and learn. It implies that physical activity supports or is a vehicle for cognitive growth and furthering knowledge or skills. The learner uses physical action to achieve a cognitive or affective objective.

It is further divided into 5 levels, these are:

Image showing the five level of psychomotor domain

1.Imitation: At this level, the learner will-

  • Directly copy action seen
  • Replicate what’s directly observed
  • Example: Aling his/her own car seat exactly as advised by the driver instruction.

2. Manipulation: At this level, the learner will-

  • Reproduce activity by instruction.
  • Reproduce activity by memory
  • Example: Look into the back and side mirror every time intend to take a turn

3. Precision: At this level, the learner will-

  • Execute skill independent of help
  • Example: Slow the car down in anticipation of a red light without being instructed.

4. Articulation: At this level, the learner will-

  • Adapt expertise to complete a non- standard objective.
  • Example: Stop behind a parked car to give away to an incoming vehicle without instruction.

5. Naturalisation: At this level, the learner will-

  • Automate skills
  • Unconscious mastery skills.
  • Example: Pass a practical driving test by independently driving satisfactory.

Why Use Bloom’s Taxonomy?

  1. Objectives (learning goals) are important to establish in a pedagogical interchange so that teachers and students alike understand the purpose of that interchange.

2. Organizing objectives helps to clarify objectives for themselves and for students.

3. Having an organized set of objectives helps teachers to:

  • “plan and deliver appropriate instruction”;
  • “design valid assessment tasks and strategies”; and
  • “ensure that instruction and assessment are aligned with the objectives.”

Criticism of Bloom’s Taxonomy

  1. Learning isn’t orderly sequential – Bloom’s Hierarchy seems like too artificially constructed. It is a linear, straightforward view of how humans understand information. Although each concept or classification has its place, researchers are starting to see the mind as more of the internet.

A person might bounce from knowledge to application then analyze the application, come to a conclusion (evaluation)  then re-analyze the conclusion all working toward a greater synthesis of information.

Constructivist teaching has suggested that teachers need to spread higher-order thinking skills throughout a task rather than begin with the imparting of only knowledge. The shortcoming of the taxonomy and the need for an appropriate structure to become a learner-centred.

2. It is incomplete – Bloom concentrated his efforts only on learning, yet there is little about motivation or about classroom management.

3.  It is too fixed – Classifying and separating learning into three domains and good hierarchies is a very modern, scientific view of learning. Yet, a Criticism of postmodernism would attempt to deconstruct this idea.

For one, they might suggest that neuroscience remains in its earliest formation which we don’t entirely understand the mystery of the mind. In addition, postmodernists would suggest that a lot of of the terms are simply artificial constructs used as an ideology to hide the messy side of learning

4. It is individualistic – Unlike the Social Learning Theory, Bloom’s Taxonomy emphases heavily on how an individual learns. It misses the other way of learning like social interaction, group discussion, tour etc.

For example, an individual’s ability to reach “evaluation” can easily through group discussion.


  1. Wengroff, J. (2020). What is Bloom’s Taxonomy? – Synapse. [online] Synapse. Available at: [Accessed 23 Jan. 2020].
  2. Armstrong, P. (2020). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved 24 January 2020, from
  3. Part II: Chapter 4: Analyzing Quantitative Data. (2020). Retrieved 28 January 2020, from

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