Using Bloom's Taxonomy at CellStream since 1998

Our Related Motto: Competence Skills - Demonstrated

CellStream consultants utilize a well known taxonomy for developing knowledge capital for our clients.

Following the 1948 Convention of the American Psychological Association, Benjamin S Bloom took a lead in formulating a classification of "the goals of the educational process". Benjamin Bloom created this taxonomy for categorizing level of abstraction of questions that commonly occur in educational settings. Bloom and his co-workers established a hierarchy of educational objectives, which is generally referred to as Bloom's Taxonomy, and which attempts to divide cognitive objectives into subdivisions ranging from the simplest behavior to the most complex.

The committee of colleges, led by Benjamin Bloom, identified three domains of educational activities:

  • Cognitive: mental skills (Knowledge)
  • Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (Attitude)
  • Psycho-motor: manual or physical skills (Skills)

Trainers often refer to these three domains as KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude). This taxonomy of learning behaviors can be thought of as "the goals of the training process." That is, after the training session, the learner should have acquires new skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes.

The committee also produced an elaborate compilation for the cognitive and affective domains, but none for the psycho-motor domain. Their explanation for this oversight was that they have little experience in teaching manual skills within the college level (I guess they never thought to check with their sports or drama department).

This compilation divides the three domains into subdivisions, starting from the simplest behavior to the most complex. The divisions outlined are not absolutes and there are other systems or hierarchies that have been devised in the educational and training world. However, Bloom's taxonomy is easily understood and is probably the most widely applied one in use today.

The taxonomy provides a useful structure for us in CellStream and our clients in which to organize course materials, hands-on labs, and categorize test questions.

1 - Cognitive {Knowledge}

The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns, and concepts that serve in the development of intellectual abilities and skills. There are six major categories, which are listed in order below, starting from the simplest behavior to the most complex. The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. That is, the first one must be mastered before the next one can take place.

Knowledge

At this level, one simply requires the recall of acquired knowledge. WARNING! A test at this level can easily become a "Trivial Pursuit" exercise!

  • observation and recall of information
  • knowledge of dates, events, places
  • knowledge of major ideas
  • mastery of subject matter

Question Cues:  list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, where, etc.

Examples: Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. Knows the safety rules.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states.

Comprehension

At this level, knowledge of facts, theories, procedures etc. is assumed, and one tests for understanding of this knowledge.

  • understanding information
  • grasp meaning
  • translate knowledge into new context
  • interpret facts, compare, contrast
  • order, group, infer causes
  • predict consequences

Question Cues:  summarize, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend 

Examples: Rewrites the principles of test writing. Explain in one's own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translates an equation into a computer spreadsheet.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives

Application

In order to classify a question into this group, ask yourself if prior knowledge of the background to the question is assumed to be both known and understood, and whether one is merely expected to apply this knowledge and understanding.

  • use information
  • use methods, concepts, theories in new situations
  • solve problems using required skills or knowledge

Questions Cues:  apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover 

Examples: Use a manual to calculate an employee ís vacation time. Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written test. 

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.

Analysis

At this level, one separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.
seeing patterns

  • organization of parts
  • recognition of hidden meanings
  • identification of components

Question Cues:  analyze, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer

Examples: Troubleshoot a piece of equipment by using logical deduction. Recognize logical fallacies in reasoning. Gathers information from a department and selects the required tasks for training.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.

Synthesis

At this level, one builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.

  • use old ideas to create new ones
  • generalize from given facts
  • relate knowledge from several areas
  • predict, draw conclusions

Question Cues:  combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalize, rewrite

Examples: Write a company operations or process manual. Design a machine to perform a specific task. Integrates training from several sources to solve a problem. Revises and process to improve the outcome.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes.

Evaluation

At this level, one is asked to pass judgement on, for example, the logical consistency of written material, the validity of experimental procedures or interpretation of data.

  • compare and discriminate between ideas
  • assess value of theories, presentations
  • make choices based on reasoned argument
  • verify value of evidence
  • recognize subjectivity

Question Cues:  assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarize

Examples: Select the most effective solution. Hire the most qualified candidate. Explain and justify a new budget.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.


2 - Affective {Attitude}

This domain includes the manner in which we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes. The five major categories listed the simplest behavior to the most complex:

Receiving Phenomena

Awareness, willingness to hear, selected attention.

Examples: Listen to others with respect. Listen for and remember the name of newly introduced people.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: asks, chooses, describes, follows, gives, holds, identifies, locates, names, points to, selects, sits, erects, replies, uses.

Responding to Phenomena

Active participation on the part of the learners. Attends and reacts to a particular phenomenon. Learning outcomes may emphasize compliance in responding, willingness to respond, or satisfaction in responding (motivation).

Examples: Participates in class discussions. Gives a presentation. Questions new ideals, concepts, models, etc. in order to fully understand them. Know the safety rules and practices them.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: answers, assists, aids, complies, conforms, discusses, greets, helps, labels, performs, practices, presents, reads, recites, reports, selects, tells, writes.

Valuing

The worth or value a person attaches to a particular object, phenomenon, or behavior. This ranges from simple acceptance to the more complex state of commitment. Valuing is based on the internalization of a set of specified values, while clues to these values are expressed in the learner's overt behavior and are often identifiable.


Examples: Demonstrates belief in the democratic process. Is sensitive towards individual and cultural differences (value diversity). Shows the ability to solve problems. Proposes a plan to social improvement and follows through with commitment. Informs management on matters that one feels strongly about.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: completes, demonstrates, differentiates, explains, follows, forms, initiates, invites, joins, justifies, proposes, reads, reports, selects, shares, studies, works.

Organization

Organizes values into priorities by contrasting different values, resolving conflicts between them, and creating an unique value system. The emphasis is on comparing, relating, and synthesizing values.

Examples: Recognizes the need for balance between freedom and responsible behavior. Accepts responsibility for one's behavior. Explains the role of systematic planning in solving problems. Accepts professional ethical standards. Creates a life plan in harmony with abilities, interests, and beliefs. Prioritizes time effectively to meet the needs of the organization, family, and self.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: adheres, alters, arranges, combines, compares, completes, defends, explains, formulates, generalizes, identifies, integrates, modifies, orders, organizes, prepares, relates, synthesizes.

Internalizing values (characterization)

Has a value system that controls their behavior. The behavior is pervasive, consistent, predictable, and most importantly, characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives are concerned with the student's general patterns of adjustment (personal, social, emotional).

Examples: Shows self-reliance when working independently. Cooperates in group activities (displays teamwork). Uses an objective approach in problem solving. Displays a professional commitment to ethical practice on a daily basis. Revises judgments and changes behavior in light of new evidence. Values people for what they are, not how they look.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: acts, discriminates, displays, influences, listens, modifies, performs, practices, proposes, qualifies, questions, revises, serves, solves, verifies.

3 - Psycho-motor {Skills}

The psycho-motor domain includes physical movement, coordination, and use of the motor-skill areas. Development of these skills requires practice and is measured in terms of speed, precision, distance, procedures, or techniques in execution. The seven major categories listed the simplest behavior to the most complex:

Perception

The ability to use sensory cues to guide motor activity. This ranges from sensory stimulation, through cue selection, to translation.

Examples: Detects non-verbal communication cues. Estimate where a ball will land after it is thrown and then moving to the correct location to catch the ball. Adjusts heat of stove to correct temperature by smell and taste of food. Adjusts the height of the forks on a forklift by comparing where the forks are in relation to the pallet.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: chooses, describes, detects, differentiates, distinguishes, identifies, isolates, relates, selects.

Set

Readiness to act. It includes mental, physical, and emotional sets. These three sets are dispositions that predetermine a person's response to different situations (sometimes called mindsets).

Examples: Knows and acts upon a sequence of steps in a manufacturing process. Recognize one's abilities and limitations. Shows desire to learn a new process (motivation). NOTE: This subdivision of Psychomotor is closely related with the "Responding to phenomena" subdivision of the Affective domain.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: begins, displays, explains, moves, proceeds, reacts, shows, states, volunteers.

Guided Response

The early stages in learning a complex skill that includes imitation and trial and error. Adequacy of performance is achieved by practicing.

Examples: Performs a mathematical equation as demonstrated. Follows instructions to build a model. Responds hand-signals of instructor while learning to operate a forklift.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: copies, traces, follows, react, reproduce, responds

Mechanism

This is the intermediate stage in learning a complex skill. Learned responses have become habitual and the movements can be performed with some confidence and proficiency.

Examples: Use a personal computer. Repair a leaking faucet. Drive a car.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: assembles, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes, sketches.

Complex Overt Response

The skillful performance of motor acts that involve complex movement patterns. Proficiency is indicated by a quick, accurate, and highly coordinated performance, requiring a minimum of energy. This category includes performing without hesitation, and automatic performance. For example, players are often utter sounds of satisfaction or expletives as soon as they hit a tennis ball or throw a football, because they can tell by the feel of the act what the result will produce.

Examples: Maneuvers a car into a tight parallel parking spot. Operates a computer quickly and accurately. Displays competence while playing the piano.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: assembles, builds, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes, sketches. NOTE: The Key Skills/Abilities Developed are the same as Mechanism, but will have adverbs or adjectives that indicate that the performance is quicker, better, more accurate, etc.

Adaptation

Skills are well developed and the individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements.

Examples: Responds effectively to unexpected experiences. Modifies instruction to meet the needs of the learners. Perform a task with a machine that it was not originally intended to do (machine is not damaged and there is no danger in performing the new task).

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: adapts, alters, changes, rearranges, reorganizes, revises, varies.

Origination

Creating new movement patterns to fit a particular situation or specific problem. Learning outcomes emphasize creativity based upon highly developed skills.

Examples: Constructs a new theory. Develops a new and comprehensive training programming. Creates a new gymnastic routine.

Key Skills/Abilities Developed: arranges, builds, combines, composes, constructs, creates, designs, initiate, makes, originates.


* From Benjamin S. Bloom Taxonomy of educational objectives.
Published by Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA. Copyright (c) 1984 by Pearson Education.

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