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Bloom's Taxonomy

A structure for classifying educational objectives. Bloom’s taxonomy was proposed by an educational psychologist Bloom and his colleagues in 1956 in which three domains of learning were identified.

The domains included cognitive (mental), affective (emotional/feelings/attitude) and psychomotor (physical ability) skills. The cognitive domain is the most widely used in developing goals and objectives for student learning. Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive objectives describes learning in six levels in the order of: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The taxonomy was later revised by Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001). The revised taxonomy is created on a two-dimensional framework to include the cognitive process and knowledge. The cognitive process includes the six levels of thinking skills as remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create. The knowledge dimension is the core for the six cognitive processes and is classified into four types of knowledge including factual, conceptual, procedural, and meta cognitive knowledge.


Source: adapted from Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001, 4.1, page 46  

  • Factual: The basic elements a student must know to be acquainted with a discipline or solve problems in it. (Terminology & specific details and elements)
  • Conceptual: Interrelationship among basic elements in a larger structure that allows them to function together  (Classifications, categories, Principles and generalizations, Theories, models and structures)
  • Procedural: How to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, algorithms, techniques, and methods. (Subject-specific skills/processes, Subject-specific techniques/methods, Criteria for determining when to apply procedure, technique, skill, etc.)
  • Metacognitive: Knowledge of cognition in general, awareness and knowledge of one's own cognition. (Strategic knowledge, Cognitive tasks, appropriate contextual and conditional knowledge, Self-knowledge) 

The Cognitive Process Dimension

Citations from Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives: Complete edition, New York : Longman. Table 5.1, pages 67-68

The cognitive process dimension  (bottom up) begins from low to high order of thinking skills.  


To put elements together or restructure to form something new/clear functional whole

  • Generate (hypothesize)
  • Plan (design)
  • Produce (construct)


To make judgments based on defined criteria

  • Check (coordinate, detect, monitor, test)
  • Critique (judge)


To break down information into basic parts and determine how different parts relate to each other and as a whole

  • Differentiate (discriminate, distinguish, focus, select)
  • Organize (find, cohere, integrate, outline, parse, structure)
  • Attribute (deconstruct)


To use a process/procedure

  • Execute (carry out)
  • Implement (use)


To construct meaning from oral, written and graphic communication

  • Interpret (clarify/paraphrase/represent/translate)
  • Exemplify (illustrate/instantiate)
  • Classify (categorize/subsume)
  • Summarize (abstract/generalize)
  • Infer (conclude/extrapolate/interpolate/predict)
  • Compare (contrast/map/match)
  • Explain (construct)


To retrieve knowledge from long-term memory

  • Recognize (identify)
  • Recall (retrieve)

An example of a measurable vs. non-measurable SLO using action verb from the cognitive process dimension:

Not Measurable SLO: Students will be able to understand the causes of unemployment and inflation.

Note: Understand is too vague, not an observable or measurable action.

Measurable SLO: Students will be able to explain the causes of unemployment and inflation


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

Davis, Scott, “Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Write Learning Outcomes (2014)”, Pearson Education accessed June 2017

“Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy”, CELT, Iowa State University, accessed April 2017