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Student Life Learning & Assessment


Learning Domains

Cognitive | Affective | Psychomotor

Learning is not an event. It is a process. It is the continual growth and change in the brain's architecture that results from the many ways we take in information, process it, connect it, catalogue it, and use it (and sometimes get rid of it).

Learning can generally be categorized into three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Within each domain are multiple levels of learning that progress from more basic, surface-level learning to more complex, deeper-level learning. The level of learning we strive to impact will vary across learning experiences depending on 1) the nature of the experience, 2) the developmental levels of the participating students, and 3) the duration and intensity of the experience.

When writing learning objectives, it is important to think about which domain(s) is relevant to the learning experience you are designing. The tables below provide further information about each domain.

 

The COGNITIVE Domain

The cognitive domain deals with how we acquire, process, and use knowledge. It is the "thinking" domain. The table below outlines the six levels in this domain and verbs that can be used to write learning objectives.

Cognitive Domain Levels
-------------------Increasing Complexity------------------->
Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create
Retrieve relevant knowledge from long-term memory Construct meaning from instructional messages, including oral, written, and graphic communication Carry out or use a procedure in a given situation Break material into its constituent parts and determine how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose Make judgments based on criteria and standards Put elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure
Arrange
Cite
Choose
Count
Define
Describe
Duplicate
Identify
Label
List
Locate
Match
Name
Outline
Recall
Recite
Recognize
Record
Repeat
Restate
Review
Select
State
Abstract
Associate
Categorize
Clarify
Classify
Compare
Conclude
Contrast
Exemplify
Explain
Extrapolate
Generalize
Illustrate
Infer
Interpret
Map
Match
Paraphrase
Predict
Represent
Summarize
Translate
Apply
Carry out
Demonstrate
Determine
Develop
Employ
Execute
Implement
Operate
Show
Sketch
Solve
Use
Analyze
Attribute
Deconstruct
Differentiate
Discriminate
Distinguish
Focus
Organize
Outline
Parse
Select
Structure
Argue
Assess
Check
Conclude
Coordinate
Criticize
Critique
Detect
Evaluate
Judge
Justify
Monitor
Prioritize
Rank
Rate
Recommend
Test
Assemble
Build
Combine
Compose
Construct
Create
Design
Draft
Formulate
Generate
Hypothesize
Integrate
Plan
Produce

 

The AFFECTIVE Domain 

The affective domain deals with our attitudes, values, and emotions. It is the "valuing" domain. The table below outlines the five levels in this domain and verbs that can be used to write learning objectives.

Affective Domain Levels
-------------------Increasing Complexity------------------->
Receiving Responding Valuing Organization Characterization
Openness to new information or experiences Active participation in, interaction with, or response to new information or experiences Attaching value or worth to new information or experiences Incorporating new information or experiences into existing value system Full integration/ internalization resulting in new and consistent attitudes, beliefs, and/or behaviors
Ask
Choose
Describe
Follow
Give
Hold
Identify
Locate
Name
Select
Reply
Use 
Answer
Assist
Aid
Compile
Conform
Discuss
Greet
Help
Label
Perform
Practice
Present
Read
Recite
Report
Select
Tell
Write 
Complete
Demonstrate
Differentiate
Explain
Follow
Form
Initiate
Join
Justify
Propose
Read
Share
Study
Work 
Adhere
Alter
Arrange
Combine
Compare
Complete
Defend
Formulate
Generalize
Identify
Integrate
Modify
Order
Organize
Prepare
Relate
Synthesize 
Act
Discriminate
Display
Influence
Listen
Modify
Perform
Practice
Propose
Qualify
Question
Revise
Serve
Solve
Verify
Use 

 

The PSYCHOMOTOR Domain 

The psychomotor domain deals with manual or physical skills. It is the "doing" domain. The table below outlines the five levels in this domain and verbs that can be used to write learning objectives.

Psychomotor Domain Levels
-------------------Increasing Complexity------------------->
Imitation Manipulation Precision Articulation Naturalization
Observing and copying another's action/skill Reproducing action/skill through instruction Accurately executing action/skill on own Integrating multiple actions/skills and performing consistently Naturally and automatically performing actions/skills at high level
Adhere
Copy
Follow
Repeat
Replicate
Build
Execute
Implement
Perform
Recreate
Calibrate
Complete
Control
Demonstrate
Perfect
Show
Adapt
Combine
Construct
Coordinate
 Develop
Formulate
Integrate
Master
Modify
Design
Invent
Manage
Project
Specify

 



Anderson, L.W., & Krathwohl, D.R. (eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.

Dave, R.H. (1975). Developing and writing behavioural objectives. (R J Armstrong, ed.) Educational Innovators Press.

Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S., & Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook II: Affective domain. New York: David McKay Co.