Educational Psychology: Bloom’s Taxonomy

A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy

The article “A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview” by David Krathwohl (2002) provides an overview of the revised structure of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.

The original Taxonomy consisted of six main categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Krathwohl, 2002). Almost all of them were divided into subcategories and built into a hierarchical framework.

All categories were arranged in a cumulative manner and ordered from concrete to abstract (Krathwohl, 2002). The original Taxonomy emphasized heavily on objectives that required either recognition or recall and could be subsumed under the knowledge category. However, since understanding and the application of knowledge are the most important educational goals, they were classified in comprehension and synthesis categories. Therefore, tests and curricula were moved towards objectives from more complex categories (Krathwohl, 2002).

In the revised version of Taxonomy, the division between nouns and verbs was made. It allowed us to move them into two separate dimensions: knowledge and cognitive process. The latter followed the original categories closely, however, some of them were renamed and rearranged, allowing to move synthesis to the top category (Krathwohl, 2002). New categories also formed a hierarchical structure that was more flexible than that of the original Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002).

A Case Study Evaluation

The article “Evaluating a Case Study Using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education,” written by Larkin and Burton (2008) provides an overview of a case study that demonstrates how Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives could be used for an educational intervention within a clinical setting.

The workshop described in the article was structured with the use of Bloom’s framework. The learning steps were arranged in a cumulative manner, which allowed learners to move from basic learning to complex synthesis (Larkin & Burton, 2008). The division of data into small segments allowed the team of preoperative nurses to better focus on the information and have a deeper understanding of the conditions of a patient. The structure of the workshop allowed to frame the educational experience in such a way that staff members participating in it were able to draw the necessary conclusions and meet anticipated objectives (Larkin & Burton, 2008).

The results of the workshop demonstrated the possible application of Bloom’s Taxonomy in various areas of the nursing practice. The article suggests that Bloom’s framework can serve as an effective educational tool for both educational and workplace settings (Larkin & Burton, 2008).

Implications of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy for Educating Nurses

The article “The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy: Implications for Educating Nurses” by Su and Osisek (2011) provides a framework for using the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy for planning an educational session for nurses that would facilitate knowledge transfer.

The nursing profession requires continuous education, which is the prerequisite for improving patient health outcomes. The best way to achieve effective learning is to provide a possibility for the learners to transfer the acquired knowledge to practical use (Su & Osisek, 2011). The revised Taxonomy can facilitate the creation of instructional designs that include educational content transformed by the cognitive process.

It would provide students with effective tools for knowledge transfer (Su & Osisek, 2011). The revised Taxonomy offers a framework for developing tests with an emphasis on the factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive types of knowledge. A wide spectrum of teaching methods designed to link the specific knowledge type and corresponding learning objective can be applied to the health care settings and provide the nurses with the necessary reasoning skills (Su & Osisek, 2011). The Taxonomy might be used by educators to improve their lesson design and instructional delivery.

Three Domains of Learning

According to Bloom, the cognitive domain encompasses the recall of knowledge and development of intellectual skills (as cited in Rovai, Wighting, Baker, & Grooms, 2009). It includes six subcategories: recognition of knowledge, the ability to demonstrate comprehension or understanding of information, practical application of acquired knowledge, subdivision of a problem into smaller parts, critical assessment of an idea with the use of explicit criteria and devising a new structure from the existing knowledge (Rovai et al., 2009).

The affective domain of learning substantially differs from the cognitive one. It focuses mainly on the manner in which people develop attitudes, emotions, and behaviors rather than on the use of intellectual capabilities (Rovai et al., 2009). The products of learning related to the affective domain put emphasis on the interests, values, and opinions, thereby motivating “students to engage in task-relevant behaviors” (Rovai et al., 2009).

The psychomotor domain focuses on the physical skills and the application of manual tasks. It recognizes the fact that the development of speed and dexterity requires more than just knowledge, emotional predisposition, or attitude. The psychomotor domain is associated with the acquisition of physical skills necessary for the effective performance of manual tasks, such as playing an instrument or operating equipment (Rovai et al., 2009).

Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs and Audience

The proper use of the taxonomy of verbs is essential for the adequate evaluation of medical students. Written assessments are among the most important tools for the classification of the students’ level of cognitive skills and learning outcomes (Kalasuramath, Tandon, Deshpande, & Kumar, 2015). The examination questions should focus on comprehension, knowledge, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (Kalasuramath et al., 2015).

According to a recent study, the planners and teachers do not pay enough attention to the taxonomy of verbs when creating questions for the evaluation papers (Kalasuramath et al., 2015). The majority of medical physiology question papers do not contain verbs related to the application, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation, as they are mainly concentrated on the comprehension and knowledge (Kalasuramath et al., 2015).

It is very important to focus on the proper usage of verbs while framing the questions for the written examination (Kalasuramath et al., 2015). The taxonomy verbs must be chosen in accordance with the cognitive skills of the audience. I would concentrate on the objectivity and feasibility of the examination system applying various taxonomy verbs for different audiences and learning objectives. Depending on the type of the audience, questions would be framed with corresponding difficulty and effectiveness indexes (Kalasuramath et al., 2015).

Affective Learning Domain

The affective domain focuses mainly on the manner in which people develop attitudes, emotions, and behaviors, rather than on the use of intellectual capabilities. It is ordered around the emotional responses towards various phenomena and their incorporation into the framework of an individual’s value system (Bastable, 2014). The role of the affective domain in the implementation of effective teaching strategies is often underappreciated. While focusing on the cognitive and psychomotor functioning, it is important to remember that nursing career requires constant engagement with difficult ethical issues; therefore, affective teaching cannot be neglected (Bastable, 2014).

The future educators have to be more confident about framing behavioral objectives in the affective domain even though it is particularly challenging to evaluate attitudes, beliefs and values (Bastable, 2014). It is important to recognize that some criteria cannot be directly observed and measured; therefore, they must be inferred from the specific language patterns or person’s behavior (Bastable, 2014). The need for effective education in affective domain is especially high for the healthcare professionals. Given the necessity to daily face difficult treatment decisions along with the ethical moral choices, nurses have to develop affective skills on the three levels of the affective domain: intrapersonal, interpersonal and extrapersonal (Bastable, 2014).


The cognitive domain in the Bloom’s Taxonomy relates to the recall of knowledge and development of intellectual skills and, therefore, receives the most attention from educators. It includes six subcategories: recognition of knowledge, the ability to demonstrate comprehension or understanding of information, practical application of acquired knowledge, subdivision of a problem into smaller parts, critical assessment of an idea with the use of explicit criteria and devising a new structure from the existing knowledge (Rovai et al., 2009).

Knowledge category can be used for writing the objectives on the remembering level that would require a student to recall specific information. Comprehension category objectives require the understanding level, and they are being used to examine the ability to grasp the material (Bastable, 2014). Application category objectives are written on the application level, and they require the ability to use the knowledge in a new way.

Analyzing level objectives ask the student to divide information into its substituent components for the better understanding of the material (Bastable, 2014). Evaluating category can be applied for writing objectives on the evaluating level so the learner would have to make judgment about new material. Synthesis category objectives are written on the creative level and require the student to use previous knowledge for the creation of new structures.

Course objectives

  • Identify the terms education process and obstacles to learning.
  • Discuss the trends affecting the delivery of educational services and the delivery of health care services.
  • Develop strategy for managing student misconduct and incivility in the educational environment.
  • Differentiate ethical and legal dimensions of the delivery of health care services.
  • Propose four different strategies for the promotion of active learning in the clinical setting.
  • Compare different learning styles.

Types of Questions

According to Babcock and Miller, there are three types of questions: factual, clarifying and high-order (as cited in Bastable, 2014). They serve for eliciting various types of answers dictated by the predetermined learning objectives. Different types of questions help the teacher to better evaluate the progress of the learners and form an adequate judgment about the pace at which information is being presented (Bastable, 2014).

The factual or descriptive questions are the type of questions that aimed at identifying concepts or describing ideas. They can serve as the initial point in creative thinking and start with words such as where, when, who or what (Bastable, 2014).

The clarifying questions are used for eliciting more information. Skilled teachers apply the second type of questions for the development of critical thinking urging students to convey their thoughts in various ways (Bastable, 2014).

The high-order type of questions requires the student to make inferences or to establish a connection between concepts. The teacher might ask the student to compare ideas and encourage them to provide thoughtful and deliberate answers, thus, developing the student’s skill of critical thinking (Bastable, 2014).


Bastable, S. (2014). Nurse as Educator: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice (4th ed.). Sudbury, Canada: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Kalasuramath, S., Tandon, M., Deshpande, D., & Kumar, V. (2015). Application of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Verbs to Evaluate the Cognitive Domain in Undergraduate Medical Physiology Question Papers: A Critique. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(11), 3351-3356.

Krathwohl, D. (2002). A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An Overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218.

Larkin, B., & Burton, K. (2008). Evaluating a Case Study Using Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education. AORN Journal, 88(3), 390-402.

Rovai, A., Wighting, M., Baker, J., & Grooms, L. (2009). Development of an instrument to measure perceived cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning in traditional and virtual classroom higher education settings. The Internet and Higher Education, 12(1), 7-13.

Su, W., & Osisek, P. (2011). The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy: Implications for Educating Nurses. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 42(7), 321-327.

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