Domains of Learning

Domains of

As humans, we are lifelong learners. We begin learning at birth and continue learning all throughout our lives. As we have new experiences, we continue to assimilate new information into what we already know.

Learning, however, is not just a cognitive (thinking) function. We can also learn attitudes, behaviors, and physical skills. These different categories create three domains of learning. These three domains of learning can be categorized as cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (attitudes).


Learning can be categorized into the domains.

  • Cognitive Domain (thinking)
  • Affective Domain (feeling)
  • Psychomotor Domain (doing)

Three Learning Domains



Bloom’s Domains of Learning

In the 1950’s, Educational Psychologist Benjamin Bloom divided what and how we learn into these three separate domains of learning. Bloom developed classifications of behavior and learning in order to identify and measure the levels of learning.


Cognitive Domain: mental skills (knowledge)

Affective Domain: growth in feelings or emotional areas (attitude)

Psychomotor Domain: manual or physical skills (skills)


Each domain has a taxonomy associated with it. Taxonomy simply means a classification.  All of the taxonomies are arranged so that they proceed from the simplest to more complex levels.  For example, the cognitive domain would start with the simple task of “remembering” and work towards more complex tasks of thinking such as “evaluation.”


Other variations

There are other variations on the theme which summaries the three domains:

  • Knowledge-Attitude-Skills
  • KAS
  • Think-Feel- Do




Domains of Learning



Cognitive Domain

The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts and concepts that serve developing intellectual abilities and skills.

There are six major categories of cognitive a processes, starting from the simplest to the most complex

  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation


The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties. That is, the first ones are the lower level ones, and must normally be mastered before the next one can take place. The higher the level ones require more complex mental operation.


Revised Taxonomy

The original Taxonomy has been changed over the years. The most notable change is the terms used to describe the levels. The revised version changes the names of each of the six levels. The levels have also change from nouns to verbs. The new version is as follows:

  1. Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Applying
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating
  6. Creating




Affective Domain

The affective domain involves our feelings, emotions, and attitudes. This domain includes the manner in which we deal with things emotionally, such as feelings, values, appreciation, enthusiasms, motivations, and attitudes. This domain is categorized into 5 subdomains, which include:


  1. Characterization
  2. Organization
  3. Valuing
  4. Responding
  5. Receiving


This domain forms a hierarchical structure and is arranged from simpler feelings to those that are more complex. With movement to more complexity, you become more involved, committed, and internally motivated.




Psychomotor Domain

The psychomotor domain refers to the use of basic motor skills, coordination, and physical movement. Development of these skills requires practice and is measured in terms of speed, precision, distance, procedures, or techniques in execution.

The psychomotor domain is comprised of utilizing motor skills and coordinating them. There are three different Taxonomy for Psychomotor Domain:


Harrow (1972)

  1. Reflex movements
  2. Fundamental Movements
  3. Perceptual abilities
  4. Physical Abilities
  5. Skilled movements
  6. Non-discursive communication


Simpson (1972)

  1. Perception
  2. Set
  3. Guided Response
  4. Mechanism
  5. Complex Overt Response
  6. Adaptation
  7. Origination


Dave (1975)

  1. Imitation
  2. Manipulation
  3. Precision.
  4. Articulation
  5. Naturalization




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