Bloom’s taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom.
Bloom believed that education should focus on mastery of subjects and the promotion of higher forms of thinking, rather than a utilitarian approach to simply transferring facts. Bloom demonstrated decades ago that most teaching tended to be focused on transfer and information recall –the lowest level of training- rather than true meaningful personal development, and this remains a central challenge for educators and trainers in modern times.
The taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains”: Cognitive, affective and psychomotor. The meanings are simple to understand:
- Cognitive domain: Intellectual capability (i.e. knowledge or “think”)
- Affective domain: feelings, emotions and behavior (i.e. Attitude or feel)
- Psychomotor doami: manual and physical skills (i.e. skills or do)
In each of the three domains Bloom’s Taxonomy is based on the premise that the categories are ordered in degree of difficulty. An important premise of Bloom’s Taxonomy is that each category (or ‘level’) must be mastered before progressing to the next.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a good reference model for all involved in teaching training, learning, coaching in the design, delivery and evaluation of these development methods. The taxonomy provides a simple, quick and easy checklist to start to plan any type of personal development. However, some critiques of Bloom’s taxonomy admit the existence of these categories, but question the existence of a sequential, hierarchical link.