In 1956, American educational psychologist, Benjamin Bloom, first proposed three domains of
learning; cognitive, affective and psycho-motor . Bloom worked in collaboration with David
Krathwohl and Anne Harrow throughout the 1950s-70s on the three domains.
The Cognitive Domain (Bloom’s Taxonomy).
This was the first domain to be proposed in 1956 and it focuses on the idea that objectives that
are related to cognition could be divided into subdivisions and ranked in order or cognitive
These ranked subdivisions are what we commonly refer to as Bloom’s taxonomy. The original
subdivisions are as follows (knowledge is the lowest with evaluation being the most cognitively
However, there was a major revision of the subdivisions in 2000-01 by Bloom’s original partner,
David Krathwohl and his colleague, Lorin Anderson (Anderson was a former student of
The highlights of this revision were switching names of the subdivisions from nouns to verbs,
thus making them easier to use when curriculum and lesson planning.
The other main change was the order of the top two subdivisions was reversed. The updated
taxonomy is as follows (feel free to pin it if you are on Pinterest):
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The Affective Domain.
The affective domain (sometimes referred to as the feeling domain) is concerned with feelings
and emotions and also divides objectives into hierarchical subcategories. It was proposed by
Krathwohl and Bloom in 1964.
The affective domain is not usually used when planning for maths and sciences as feelings and
emotion are not relevant for those subjects. However, for educators of arts and language, the
inclusion of the affective domain is imperative wherever possible.
The ranked domain subcategories range from “receiving” at the lower end up to
“characterisation” at the top. The full ranked list is as follows:
1. Receiving. Being aware of an external stimulus (feel, sense, experience).
2. Responding. Responding to the external stimulus (satisfaction, enjoyment, contribute)
3. Valuing. Referring to the student’s belief or appropriation of worth (showing preference
4. Organisation. The conceptualising and organising of values (examine, clarify,
5. Characterisation. The ability to practice and act on their values. (Review, conclude,
The Psycho-Motor Domain.
The psycho-motor domain refers to those objectives that are specific to reflex actions
interpretive movements and discreet physical functions.
A common misconception is that physical objectives that support cognitive learning fit the
psycho-motor label, for example; dissecting a heart and then drawing it.
While these are physical (kinesthetic) actions, they are a vector for cognitive learning, not
Pyscho-motor learning refers to how we use our bodies and senses to interact with the world
around us, such as learning how to move our bodies in dance or gymnastics.
Anne Harrow classified different types of learning in the psycho-motor domain from those that
are reflex to those that are more complex and require precise control.
1. Reflex movements. These movements are those that we possess from birth or appear
as we go through puberty. They are automatic, that is they do not require us to actively
think about them e.g. breathing, opening and closing our pupils or shivering when cold.
2. Fundamental movements. These are those actions that are the basic movements,
running, jumping, walking etc and commonly form part of more complex actions such as
playing a sport.
3. Perceptual abilities. This set of abilities features those that allow us to sense the world
around us and coordinate our movements in order to interact with our environment. They
include visual, audio and tactile actions.
4. Physical abilities. These abilities refer to those involved with strength, endurance,
dexterity and flexibility etc.
5. Skilled movements. Objectives set in this area are those that include movements
learned for sport (twisting the body in high diving or trampolining), dance or playing a
musical instrument (placing fingers on guitar strings to produce the correct note). It is
these movements that we sometimes use the layman’s term “muscle memory”.
6. Nondiscursive communication. Meaning communication without writing, nondiscursive
communication refers to physical actions such as facial expressions, posture and