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Bloom’s Taxonomy

"Taxonomy” simply means “classification”, so the well-known taxonomy of learning

objectives is an attempt (within the behavioural paradigm) to classify forms and levels of
learning. It identifies three “domains” of learning (see below), each of which is organised
as a series of levels or pre-requisites. It is suggested that one cannot effectively — or
ought not try to — address higher levels until those below them have been covered (it is
thus effectively serial in structure). As well as providing a basic sequential model for
dealing with topics in the curriculum, it also suggests a way of categorising levels of
learning, in terms of the expected ceiling for a given programme. Thus in the Cognitive
domain, training for technicians may cover knowledge, comprehension and application,
but not concern itself with analysis and above, whereas full professional training may be
expected to include this and synthesis and evaluation as well.

 Cognitive: the most-used of the domains, refers to knowledge structures

(although sheer “knowing the facts” is its bottom level). It can be viewed as
a sequence of progressive contextualisation of the material. (Based on

The model above is included because it is still common currency, but Anderson
and Krathwohl (2001) have made some apparently minor but actually significant
modifications, to come up with:

Revised taxonomy of the cognitive domain

following Anderson and Krathwohl (2001)

Note the new top category, which is about being able to create new knowledge
within the domain, and the move from nouns to verbs.
In higher education, "understand" is still—in my view—problematic in its positioning. There is a
higher, contextualised level of "understanding" which comes only with attempting to evaluate
ideas and to try them out in new ways, or to "create" with them. It is what I expect at Master's
level. The taxonomy is an epistemological rather than psychological hierarchy, but it also has a
basic chronological element: you achieve certain levels before others. This higher, Gestalt, level
of understanding comes last, in my experience: my principal evidence is in the use of research
methods. The "real", intuitive, contextualised, critical, strategic understanding only happens
when you have tried to be creative within the field... Argue with me (use the "comments
welcome" link below).

 Affective: the Affective domain has received less attention, and is less
intuitive than the Cognitive. It is concerned with values, or more precisely
perhaps with perception of value issues, and ranges from mere awareness
(Receiving), through to being able to distinguish implicit values through
analysis. (Kratwohl, Bloom and Masia (1964))

 Psycho-Motor: Bloom never completed work on this domain, and there

have been several attempts to complete it. One of the simplest versions has
been suggested by Dave (1975): it fits with the model of developing skill
put forward by Reynolds (1965), and it also draws attention to the
fundamental role of imitation in skill acquisition.


Here are two senses of question:

1. A question is an illocutionary act that has a directive illocutionary

point of attempting to get the addressee to supply information.

2. A question is a sentence type that has a form (labeled interrogative)

typically used to express an illocutionary act with the directive
illocutionary point mentioned above. It may be actually so used (as a
direct illocution), or used rhetorically.
Examples (English)

Here are some examples of sentences, ordered to illustrate the two

senses of question above:
1. An illocutionary act that attempts to obtain information from an
• Tell me your name.
• Give me your address.
2. Sentences with inverted word order or interrogative pro-forms
• What’s your name?

• Did you sleep well?


Here are some kinds of questions:

• What is an alternative question?

• What is a tag question?
• What is a wh-question?

• What is a yes-no question?


A question is a kind of

• What is an illocutionary act?