Bloom’s Taxonomy

Benjamin Bloom (1913-1999) led a team of cognitive psychologists at the University of Chicago in the development of a framework to categorize learning objectives. This framework was published in 1956 and is known as Bloom’s Taxonomy. It is a method of organizing learning goals and objectives. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides an excellent structure for planning, designing, assessing and evaluating training and learning effectiveness.

One of the major tasks in the process of designing a course is to define the expected learning outcomes or goals. Bloom’s Taxonomy helps to provide a standard language about learning goals and objectives for this. The model uses three domains to classify learning objectives of a course:

  • Cognitive Domain (Intellectual Capability, i.e. Knowledge, or ‘Think’)
  • Affective Domain (Feelings, Emotions and Behaviour, i.e. Attitude, or ‘Feel’)
  • Psychomotor Domain (Manual and Physical Skills, i.e. Skills, or ‘Do’)

‘At-a-glance’ representation of Bloom’s Taxonomy

Each domain is further broken up into tiers. The three domains have been structured in a hierarchy – first Cognitive, then Affective and finally Psychomotor. Each domain must be mastered before progressing to the next. Cognitive Domain focuses on knowledge, Affective Domain focuses on the attitude of the participants while the Psychomotor Domain covers development of physical and bodily skill. – Affective Domain should arguably cover all levels of each domain, particularly in organisations seeking learning at an institutional level.

The work done by Bloom and his team primarily focused on the Cognitive Domain, breaking it down into six categories or tiers as shown in the image. Each of these six tiers also reflect the degree of difficulty of the participants, starting with Remember and increasing in level all the way up to Create.

Structure of the Cognitive Domain

The learning goals in the design of a course for the participants can be specified using this tool. Most learning interventions tend to focus on Remember, Understand and Apply. Analyse, Evaluate, and Create are more relevant when the learning objective is to ‘break down information into parts the learning is being applied to real life situations. These six categories were initially defined as Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Evaluation and Synthesis.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has two main applications:

  • As discussed earlier, it is directly useful in planning, designing courses and their effectiveness.
  • It can be used as a checklist to ensure achievement of learning goals for participants in a course by testing the validity and coverage of the concepts covered.
  • It is also used to quantify and compare level of assessment.

Bloom’s taxonomy is considered relevant in all types of learning, including workplace learning. The objective of workplace learning is for learners to not only remember and recall facts and procedures but to also be able to apply their learning to authentic workplace situation to improve on the job performance. For CIDCO, bridging the gap between knowledge gained by its Officers and its application in their everyday work is essential for effective learning. As CIDCO Officers continue to participate in trainings through Ujjwal, the Training Cell aims to ensure that they master the principles of the each of cognitive learning category before progressing on to the next. Moving from ‘remember’ to ‘create’, they will eventually, integrate advanced and creative out-of-the-box thinking in their work, with an emphasis on the formulation of new patterns and structures.