A Critical Look at Learning Objectives: Skills and Attitude Domains

A Critical Look at Learning Objectives: Skills and Attitude Domains

Previously I discussed using Bloom's Taxonomy and the Knowledge (Cognitive) domain when designing instruction. Now I want to briefly comment on two other learning level taxonomy's, Skills (Psychomotor) and Attitude (Affective) domains. Originally, Bloom and his committee never really took a deep dive into these domains.

After the successful publishing of Bloom's Taxonomy in 1956, David R Krathwohl, a member of Bloom's original committee, recruited Bloom and another colleague Bertram Masia to collaborate on defining a taxonomy for the Affective domain. In 1964 their collective work was published in, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook II: Affective Domain.

In 1967 at a conference in Berlin, Ravindra H. Dave presented the most useful, for business and higher education purposes, taxonomy of the Psychomotor domain. There are other published taxonomies for this domain by Simpson (1966, 1972) and Harlow (1972) but they are targeted to the development of children and young adults.

"Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play." Immanuel Kant

In the Learning Design Tool software I have chosen to provide adaptations of Krathwohl's taxonomy for the Affective domain and Dave's taxonomy for the Psychomotor domain.

I have adhered to the hierarchical levels and their definitions but changed the naming of the levels to ones that I feel are more immediately understandable. Also included of course in the software is Bloom's Taxonomy, original and revised, and the labeling of those cognitive domain categories are by the original authors.

My purpose for including these domains is to better define pertinent and measurable learning outcomes.

I believe instruction that supports personal development from all learning domains… Knowledge, Skill, and Attitude… is much more effective both in the short and long term.

If you don't think your content applies to all three domains, I suggest you take another, deeper, more critical look at it and ask yourself … Why am I instructing this content? Why will the learner care to learn it?

For reference I've included below the domains of Skills, Attitude, and Knowledge and the default action verbs that I include in the Learning Design Tool. Customization of the verbs is a built-in feature of the tool.


Skill Domain (adapted from RH Dave's Taxonomy 1970)

RH Dave's labeling is: Imitate, Manipulate, Perfect, Articulate, Embody


Attitude Domain (adapted from Krathwohl's Taxonomy of Affective Domain)

Krathwohl's labeling is: Receiving, Responding, Valuing, Organization, Characterization


Knowledge Domain (Bloom's Taxonomy Revised, 2001)

Strategic Planning: Thinking Critically About the Future

Strategic Planning: Thinking Critically About the Future

A Critical Look at Learning Objectives: Knowledge Domain

A Critical Look at Learning Objectives: Knowledge Domain