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Bloom's Taxonomy: KSA's

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Bloom's taxonomy is a classification system for levels of behavior that are important in learning. The KSA's (knowledge, skills, attitude) that trainers often refer to are derived from Bloom's taxonomy.

Benjamin Bloom headed a committee of educational psychologists that devised the classification system in 1956. The committee was formed out of a meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA). The group came up with three major areas of educational activities:

  • Cognitive: mental skills (Knowledge)
  • Psychomotor: manual or physical skills (Skills)
  • Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (Attitude)

The committee focused on the cognitive (knowledge) domain and developed six levels within it. The levels build on top of each other with the simple recall of facts as the lowest level and then moving on up to evaluation which is ranked as the highest order.

Cognitive Domain

Essentially Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues popularized the idea that knowledge is acquired at certain definable levels. Trainers should be sure to test students based on the level of knowledge that is taught in the training setting.

Bloom's taxonomy views the recalling of knowledge as less sophisticated than translating that knowledge and applying it in new contexts. Higher levels of the taxonomy (classification system) involve analyzing knowledge, synthesizing it, and evaluating it.

Trainers can use Bloom's taxonomy when developing questions or assignments by varying the level of sophistication of what they ask their students to accomplish based on what has been taught. The following chart lists verbs that can be used to develop assignments. The verbs are grouped under the six levels of the cognitive domain of Bloom's taxonomy:

Additional information is available from Benjamin Bloom's 1956 book, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Vol. 1: The Cognitive Domain.



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