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Bloom’s Taxonomy as a Learning Tool

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom created a framework that would help educators focus on the intellectual comprehension of their students. The taxonomy provides a hierarchy of perception levels and is used for creating performance assignments and ensuring feedback from students (Churches, 2009).

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The taxonomy features three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor, each further subdivided into categories. Since Bloom concentrated on the first one (see Table 2), the other two were developed by his successors. Usually, the following levels are identified (Pierre & Oughton, 2007):

Table 1.

Cognitive domain Affective domain Psychomotor domain
Knowledge Receiving Imitation
Comprehension Responding Manipulation
Application Valuing Precision
Analysis Organizing Articulation
Synthesis Characterizing Naturalization

As far as its relation to the audience is concerned, the taxonomy was traditionally perceived as a tool for the earlier years of school education. However, it has been revised and has become more universal for application at primary, secondary, and even tertiary levels. Thus, the target audience has broadened significantly (Rupani & Bhutto, 2011).

As far as curriculum planning is concerned, the implications run as follows:

  • the taxonomy provides a strategy for developing any kind of educational content;
  • it assists in mapping the purpose of the curriculum to the assignments that students should perform;
  • it guides in improving cognitive skills for the elaboration of critical and creative thinking;
  • it is used for doing projects that require the collaboration of all reflection levels (Churches, 2009).

Table 2. Cognitive Domain (Churches, 2009)

Category Definition Keywords Sample Questions
Knowledge The ability to recollect previously learned information (facts, dates, definitions, concepts, ideas, etc.) tell, list, arrange, define, describe, identify, tabulate, quote, duplicate, label, outline, match, memorize, name, recognize, recollect, repeat, reproduce, select, omit, relate, etc. What is…? Who is…? Where is…? Can you define it…? When did … happen? Who were the major…? Which one…? Why did…? How would you explain…? What kind of of…?
Comprehension The ability to comprehend, assess, interpret information based on prior knowledge, and restate ideas classify, compare, juxtapose, demonstrate, explain, extend, illustrate, infer, outline, show, summarize, restate, translate, paraphrase, predict, locate, estimate, etc. How would you classify…? How would you explain…? What if we contrast…? Can you paraphrase…? What facts or ideas prove…? How would you illustrate…? What can you conclude about …?What is implied by…?
Application The ability to use knowledge in order to complete an assignment calculate, compute, solve, implement, apply, construct, discover, employ, illustrate, manipulate, write, modify, utilize, build, model, operate, practice, predict, prepare, relate schedule, sketch, etc. How would you implement it…? How would you solve it…? How would you demonstrate your understanding of of…? What approach would you use to…? What elements would you include…?
Analysis The ability to examine and classify information analyze, appraise, categorize, estimate, differentiate, identify, diagnose, infer, conclude, correlate, modify, solve, deduce, debate, detect, diagram, distinguish, predict, determine, examine, etc. What are the features of… ? Why do you think… ? What is the theme… ? What is the motive of… ? What inference can you make… ? How would you classify… ? What is the relationship between… ? What ideas justify… ?
Synthesis The ability to originate ideas into a new product create, hypothesize, invent, develop, assemble, synthesize, tell, write, rearrange, categorize, combine, comply, generate, compose, design, etc. • What changes would you make to…? What would happen if…? Can you invent…? How could you change…? How would you test…? Can you formulate…? Can you predict…?
Evaluation The ability to perform assessment and make judgments award, choose, select, criticize, decide, defend, determine, prioritize, dispute, evaluate, judge, justify, measure, interpret, compare, mark, rate, appraise, prove, disprove, assess, value deduct, etc. Do you agree…? How would you prove…? Can you estimate …? Would it be better if…? What would you advise…? What would you choose…? Was it better…?


Churches, A. (2009). Bloom’s digital taxonomy. Educational origami, 4(1), 1-44.

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Pierre, E., & Oughton, J. (2007). The affective domain: undiscovered country. College Quarterly, 10(4), 1-7.

Rupani, C. M., & Bhutto, M. I. (2011). Evaluation of existing teaching learning process on Bloom’s Taxonomy. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, pp. 119-128.

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