Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains: The Cognitive Domain (2023)

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Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains: The Cognitive Domain (1)

Bloom's Taxonomy was created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr Benjamin Bloom in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures, and principles, rather than just remembering facts (rote learning). It is most often used when designing educational, training, and learning processes.

The Three Domains of Learning

The committee identified three domains of educational activities or learning (Bloom, et al. 1956):

  • Cognitive: mental skills (knowledge)

  • Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (attitude or self)

  • Psychomotor: manual or physical skills (skills)

Since the work was produced by higher education, the words tend to be a little bigger than we normally use. Domains may be thought of as categories. Instructional designers, trainers, and educators often refer to these three categories as KSA (Knowledge [cognitive], Skills [psychomotor], and Attitudes [affective]). This taxonomy of learning behaviors may be thought of as “the goals of the learning process.” That is, after a learning episode, the learner should have acquired a new skill, knowledge, and/or attitude.

(Video) Bloom’s Taxonomy: Structuring The Learning Journey

While the committee produced an elaborate compilation for the cognitive and affective domains, they omitted the psychomotor domain. Their explanation for this oversight was that they have little experience in teaching manual skills within the college level. However, there have been at least three psychomotor models created by other researchers.

Their compilation divides the three domains into subdivisions, starting from the simplest cognitive process or behavior to the most complex. The divisions outlined are not absolutes and there are other systems or hierarchies that have been devised, such as the Structure of Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO). However, Bloom's taxonomy is easily understood and is probably the most widely applied one in use today.

Cognitive Domain

Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains: The Cognitive Domain (2)

The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills (Bloom, 1956). 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 of cognitive an processes, starting from the simplest to the most complex (see the table below for an in-depth coverage of each category):

  • Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation

The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. That is, the first ones must normally be mastered before the next one can take place.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom, and David Krathwohl revisited the cognitive domain in the mid-nineties and made some changes, with perhaps the three most prominent ones being (Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, Wittrock, 2000):

  • changing the names in the six categories from noun to verb forms
  • rearranging them as shown in the chart below
  • creating a processes and levels of knowledge matrix

The chart shown below compares the original taxonomy with the revised one:

(Video) Bloom's Taxonomy In 5 Minutes | Bloom's Taxonomy Explained | What Is Bloom's Taxonomy? | Simplilearn

Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains: The Cognitive Domain (3)

Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains: The Cognitive Domain (4)

This new taxonomy reflects a more active form of thinking and is perhaps more accurate. The new version of Bloom's Taxonomy, with examples and keywords is shown below, while the old version may be found here

Table of the Revised Cognitive Domain


Examples, key words (verbs), and technologies for learning (activities)

Remembering: Recall or retrieve previous learned information.

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

Key Words: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects, states

Technologies: book marking, flash cards, rote learning based on repetition, reading

Understanding: Comprehending the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one's own words.

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

Key Words: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives an example, infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes, translates

Technologies: create an analogy, participating in cooperative learning, taking notes, storytelling, Internet search

Applying: Use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was learned in the classroom into novel situations in the work place.

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

Key Words: applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates, discovers, manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares, produces, relates, shows, solves, uses

Technologies: collaborative learning, create a process, blog, practice

Analyzing: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.

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 Words: analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts,diagrams, deconstructs, differentiates, discriminates, distinguishes, identifies, illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates

Technologies: Fishbowls, debating, questioning what happened, run a test

Evaluating: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.

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

Key Words: appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts, criticizes, critiques, defends, describes, discriminates, evaluates, explains, interprets, justifies, relates, summarizes, supports

Technologies: survey, blogging

Creating: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.

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 Words: categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises, designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes, plans, rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises, rewrites, summarizes, tells, writes

Technologies: Create a new model, write an essay, network with others

Cognitive Processes and Levels of Knowledge Matrix

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy not only improved the usability of it by using action words, but added a cognitive and knowledge matrix.

While Bloom's original cognitive taxonomy did mention three levels of knowledge or products that could be processed, they were not discussed very much and remained one-dimensional:

  • Factual- The basic elements students must know to be acquainted with a discipline or solve problems.
  • Conceptual– The interrelationships among the basic elements within a larger structure that enable them to function together.
  • Procedural - How to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, algorithms, techniques, and methods.

In Krathwohl and Anderson's revised version, the authors combine the cognitive processes with the above three levels of knowledge to form a matrix. In addition, they added another level of knowledge - metacognition:

  • Metacognitive– Knowledge of cognition in general, as well as awareness and knowledge of one’s own cognition.

When the cognitive and knowledge dimensions are arranged in a matrix, as shown below, it makes a nice performance aid for creating performance objectives:

(Video) Learning Domains

The Cognitive Dimension

The Knowledge Dimension Remember Under-stand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create

However, others have identified five contents or artifacts (Clark, Chopeta, 2004; Clark, Mayer, 2007):

  • Facts - Specific and unique data or instance.
  • Concepts - A class of items, words, or ideas that are known by a common name, includes multiple specific examples, shares common features. There are two types of concepts: concrete and abstract.
  • Processes - A flow of events or activities that describe how things work rather than how to do things. There are normally two types: business processes that describe work flows and technical processes that describe how things work in equipment or nature. They may be thought of as the big picture, of how something works.
  • Procedures - A series of step-by-step actions and decisions that result in the achievement of a task. There are two types of actions: linear and branched.
  • Principles - Guidelines, rules, and parameters that govern. It includes not only what should be done, but also what should not be done. Principles allow one to make predictions and draw implications. Given an effect, one can infer the cause of a phenomena. Principles are the basic building blocks of causal models or theoretical models (theories).

Thus, the new matrix would look similar to this:

The Cognitive Dimension

The Knowledge Dimension Remember Under-stand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create

An example matrix that has been filled in might look something like this:

The Knowledge Dimension Remember Under-stand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create
Facts list para-phrase classify outline rank categorize
Concepts recall explains show contrast criticize modify
Processes outline estimate produce diagram defend design
Procedures reproduce give an example relate identify critique plan
Principles state converts solve different-iates conclude revise
Meta-cognitive proper use interpret discover infer predict actualize

Next Steps


  • Introduction

  • The Three Domains of Learning

  • Cognitive Domain

  • Revised Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain

  • Cognitive Process and Levels of Knowledge Matrix

Useful Links

  • Learning Strategies: Using Bloom's Taxonomy

  • Instructional Design Toolkit

    (Video) What is Bloom’s Taxonomy | Cognitive Domain | Categories Under Cognitive Domain | e-Learning


Anderson, L.W., Krathwohl, D.R., Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

Bloom, B.S. (Ed.). Engelhart, M.D., Furst, E.J., Hill, W.H., Krathwohl, D.R. (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I: The Cognitive Domain. New York: David McKay Co Inc.

Clark, R., Chopeta, L. (2004).Graphics for Learning : Proven Guidelines for Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Visuals in Training Materials. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.


What is Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives in the cognitive domain? ›

Bloom's taxonomy differentiates between cognitive skill levels and calls attention to learning objectives that require higher levels of cognitive skills and, therefore, lead to deeper learning and transfer of knowledge and skills to a greater variety of tasks and contexts.

What are the 3 domains of Bloom's taxonomy explain each domain? ›

Bloom identified three domains, or categories, of educational activities: Cognitive Knowledge or Mental Skills. Affective Attitude or Emotions. Psychomotor Skills or Physical Skills.

Why is cognitive domain important for students? ›

Learning helps develop an individual's attitude as well as encourage the acquisition of new skills. The cognitive domain aims to develop the mental skills and the acquisition of knowledge of the individual.

What is cognitive domain explain all levels with examples? ›

The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. There are six major categories of. cognitive an processes, starting from the simplest to the most complex. Remembering: Recall or retrieve previous learned information. Examples: Recite a policy.

Why is it important for teachers to understand cognitive development? ›

Cognitive development theories and psychology help explain how children process information and learn. Understanding this information can assist educators to develop more effective teaching methods.

What is the importance of Bloom's taxonomy for the assessment and the strategies of the cognitive learning? ›

Bloom's Taxonomy is essential because it helps educators identify achievable learning goals and develop plans to meet them. The Bloom's Taxonomy framework allows educators to assess learning on an ongoing basis, encouraging students to reflect on their progress.

What are the 3 domains of learning and how it is applied in education give examples? ›

The three domains of learning are cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. There are a variety of methods in professional development events to engage the different learning domains. Effective professional development events, such as webinars, should follow adult learning principles to engage learners.

What is the importance of three domains of learning? ›

The domains of learning teach students to think critically by using methods that make the most sense to them. They benefit students by teaching them various ways to approach new ideas and concepts. They also give teachers tools to cater the learning experience to the specific needs of each student.

Which domain of learning is the most challenging to develop and measure? ›

In the educational literature, nearly every author introduces their paper by stating that the affective domain is essential for learning, but it is the least studied, most often overlooked, the most nebulous and the hardest to evaluate of Bloom's three domains.

What is cognitive domain in your own words? ›

Cognitive Domain. The cognitive domain (Bloom, 1956) 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.

How can students improve their cognitive skills? ›

It's a known fact that children who participate in reading books, writing and engaging in brain-stimulating activities at any age have better cognitive development than others. During lectures you can promote brain-stimulating techniques that will tickle their curious minds.

How can cognitive domain be improved? ›

10 Ideas for a Family Fresh Start: Improve Cognitive Skills
  1. Play Outside. Outdoor playtime has been shown as a particularly effective way to improve cognition in kids. ...
  2. Go on Field Trips. ...
  3. Put on Music. ...
  4. Learn Shapes and Colors. ...
  5. Ask a Lot of Questions. ...
  6. Encourage Help With Chores. ...
  7. Do Art Projects. ...
  8. Look in the Mirror.

How do you use cognitive domain? ›

Cognitive Domain
  1. The first level is recalling information. ...
  2. The second level is comprehension. ...
  3. The third level requires students to apply information they have learned. ...
  4. The fourth level is analysis, which involves making inferences and drawing conclusions.
5 Jan 2022

Which is an example of cognitive domain in education? ›

The cognitive domain involves the development of our mental skills and the acquisition of knowledge. The six categories under this domain are: Knowledge: the ability to recall data and/or information. Example: A child recites the English alphabet.

What are some examples of cognitive domain? ›

These three domains of instruction are listed below: Cognitive (Knowledge) - Examples include memorization of material, attention, processing of information (visual and auditory), logic, reasoning, and processing speed.

Why is it important to improve cognitive skills? ›

Cognitive skills are extremely important to develop during the early years of life as they help your brain think, read, learn, reason, pay attention and remember. These skills help process incoming information and distribute it to the appropriate areas of the brain.

Why are cognitive skills necessary for effective learning? ›

Cognitive skills aid this process of learning in children. These skills bring academic success to students and enable them to efficiently read, think, prioritize, understand, plan, remember, and solve problems. When cognitive skills are strong, students pick up things faster, more easily, and find it fun.

How can teachers support the cognitive development of their students? ›

Supporting Cognitive Development

Encouraging problem-solving in the classroom. Making planful choices when arranging the classroom environment. The value and importance of play. Using active music and play experiences to support infant and toddler thinking.

What teaching strategies are used for the cognitive domain? ›

Examples of cognitive learning strategies include:
  • Asking students to reflect on their experience.
  • Helping students find new solutions to problems.
  • Encouraging discussions about what is being taught.
  • Helping students explore and understand how ideas are connected.
  • Asking students to justify and explain their thinking.

How can Bloom's taxonomy be used to help students use higher order thinking skills? ›

Many teachers may be familiar with Bloom's taxonomy as a resource for focusing on higher order thinking skills. It identifies the skills as: Analyzing – collecting, examining, and organizing information and evidence. Evaluating – making judgements, critiquing; identifying strengths and weaknesses.

What is the importance of using the Bloom's taxonomy when setting learning objectives for teaching students? ›

Why Use Bloom's Taxonomy? Bloom's Taxonomy can be useful for course design because the levels can help you move students through the process of learning, from the most fundamental remembering and understanding to the more complex evaluating and creating (Forehand, 2010).

How do you assess cognitive domain? ›

The cognitive domain focuses on knowledge and is easily evaluated using quizzes and tests. The psychomotor domain focuses on the use of motor skills and can be evaluated by standard skills testing.

How do you develop cognitive objectives? ›

Remember - Using memory to recall facts and definitions. Understand - Constructing meaning from information. Apply - Using procedures to carry out a task. Analyze - Breaking materials into parts to determine structures and relationships.

What is cognitive domain in lesson plan? ›

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.

What are the advantages of cognitive domain? ›

Developing cognitive skills allows students to build upon previous knowledge and ideas. This teaches students to make connections and apply new concepts to what they already know. With a deeper understanding of topics and stronger learning skills, students can approach schoolwork with enthusiasm and confidence.

What is the importance of domain? ›

Provides visibility for your brand. Much like a storefront window, a good domain will create awareness and attract customers. Establishes your business as tech-savvy and forward-thinking. Whether you actually sell products online or not, it is crucial to your reputation to claim your territory online.

What is cognitive process of learning? ›

The cognitive process involves obtaining information, processing it, and storing it in the memory to be accessed again. Cognition is similar to learning because it is acquiring knowledge through direct experiences. The steps involved in cognitive processing include attention, language, memory, perception, and thought.

Which learning domain is best assessed in a face to face situation? ›

The psychomotor domain is best assessed in a face- to-face situation.

Will it make a difference if your objectives is only on the cognitive domain? ›

3. Will it make a difference in your teaching if your lesson objective is only on the cognitive or psychomotor domain? Answer. Yes!

Which developmental domain is most important? ›

The major domains of development are physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional. Children often experience a significant and obvious change in one domain at a time.

What is a cognitive domain question? ›

What is the most important…? Describe in your own words What would happen if…? What evidence can you give for…? What might happen if you combined…?

What is cognitive objective example? ›


Since being able to identify different kinds of clouds requires the student to understand or comprehend the categories indicated, this is a cognitive objective.

What is cognitive domain Revised Bloom's taxonomy? ›

There are six levels of cognitive learning according to the revised version of Bloom's Taxonomy. Each level is conceptually different. The six levels are remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.

What is cognitive domain of educational objectives? ›

The cognitive domain (Bloom, 1956) 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.

What is Bloom's taxonomy of learning objectives explain each? ›

Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives is a hierarchical ordering of skills in different domains whose primary use is to help teachers teach and students learn effectively and efficiently. The meaning of Bloom's taxonomy can be understood by exploring its three learning domains—cognitive, affective and psychomotor.

What is Bloom's taxonomy in education? ›

Bloom's taxonomy was developed to provide a common language for teachers to discuss and exchange learning and assessment methods. Specific learning outcomes can be derived from the taxonomy, though it is most commonly used to assess learning on a variety of cognitive levels.

What does bloom taxonomy mean in education? ›

Bloom's taxonomy is a classification system used to define and distinguish different levels of human cognition—i.e., thinking, learning, and understanding.

What are the activities of cognitive domain? ›

Cognitive Domain
Evaluate Make judgements based on evidence foundAssessments Argumentative or persuasive essay Debates Discussions Presentation Provide alternative solutions Report
5 more rows

How do I use Bloom's taxonomy in teaching and learning? ›

Divide the taxonomy into three sections: remember and understand, apply and analyze, and evaluate and create. Then, divide your lesson into three segments and apply each of the learning levels above.

How do you use Bloom's taxonomy to study? ›

  1. Generate a hypothesis or design an experiment based on information you are studying.
  2. Create a model based on a given data set.
  3. Create summary sheets that show how facts and concepts relate to each other.
  4. Create questions at each level of Bloom's Taxonomy as a practice test and then take the test.
13 Oct 2017

What is Bloom's taxonomy examples? ›

To use Bloom's Taxonomy, you use the verbs to create your learning objectives. For example, if you were giving a math workshop about prime numbers, then you might define your learning objectives as follows: At the end of this workshop, students will be able to: » Define a prime number (“Define” is a Remembering verb).

Why is it important for teachers to prepare a lesson plan? ›

Regardless of the level of detail, the importance of lesson planning is that it bridges the curriculum's intent with the daily teaching and learning in a classroom. At a minimum, lesson planning adds the element of time, breaking the curriculum into units delivered each session.

What are the implications of Bloom's taxonomy in teaching and learning activities? ›

The taxonomy helps teachers make decisions about the classification of content. Bloom's taxonomy also helps teachers map content to tasks that students need to perform. Bloom's taxonomy guides teachers to develop higher levels of thinking process for critical thinking or creative thinking.

What is the simplest form of Bloom's educational objectives? ›

What is the simplest form of Bloom's educational objectives?
  • Subject Centered.
  • knowledge of unchanging principles or great ideas.
  • Education develops mental discipline needed to search for eternal truths.
  • Curriculum is based on timeless classics in Western culture, such as Great Books.

Why it is very important for teachers to consider the needs of the learners? ›

Identifying and meeting individual learner needs boosts their morale and encourages them. In some cases, the learner does not gain much from mass instruction. As such, when the teacher provides individually prescribed instruction (IPI) it significantly helps many learners to understand and grasp educational concepts.


1. Bloom's Taxonomy: Why, How, & Top Examples
(Teachings in Education)
(Dr. Seema Khan's Educational Lectures)
3. Cognitive Domain
(Teacher Clare)
4. Bloom's Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain Explained
(Integrant Consultoría)
5. Bloom's Taxonomy - Domains of Learning - Cognitive, Affective & Psychomotor Domain by Himanshi Singh
(Let's LEARN)
6. Bloom's Taxonomy - Cognitive domain, Affective domain, Psychomotor domain
(Target B.ed)
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