What is Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Benjamin Bloom published Bloom’s Taxonomy in 1956 alongside a team of cognitive psychologists at the University of Chicago (“Bloom’s Taxonomy”). Their goal was to help “researchers and educators  understand the fundamental ways in which people acquire and develop new knowledge, skills, and understandings(“Bloom’s Taxonomy”).” Bloom’s Taxonomy is divided into 6 parts: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation. The taxonomy is graphed into a pyramid which represents the hierarchical components of the philosophy. The pyramid represents steps in the way that to get to the top you have to climb or master the bottom steps first.


Blooms Taxonomy pyramid

Blooms Taxonomy pyramid

According to Mary Forehand, around 1990, Lori Anderson- a former student of Bloom’s, lead a team to revise and update the taxonomy. Her goal was to make a version more relevant for students and teachers in the 21st century (Forehand). Some of the names were changed and they made some tweaks to the original taxonomy. The pyramid is restricting because it is often interpreted as higher and lower levels of thinking. All of the levels are equally important, yet teachers mainly focus on the first two tiers: knowledge and comprehension.

Original and revised taxonomy pyramids

Original and revised taxonomy pyramids



Pyramid Breakdown

EvaluationEvaluation is comparing ideas and judging quality of work.

SynthesisSynthesis is combining all information together to make a whole.

AnalysisAnalysis is breaking down information into parts and organizing it into patterns.

ApplicationApplication is solving problems by using facts and knowledge in a different way (experimenting).

ComprehensionComprehension is understanding the facts, and being able to summarize/explain them.

KnowledgeThe base of the pyramid is knowledge. Knowledge is memorization, recognition, or recall of information. This is the most basic and most practiced today in schools.


Psychomotor Domain

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


Psychomotor skills

Psychomotor skills

The table was created by myself in Microsoft PowerPoint. The information came from The University of Dayton School of Law, which is cited in my citations page.



Significant Learning

Dr. L. Dee Fink, a professor at Oklahoma State University, was inspired by Bloom’s Taxonomy so he wrote his own version. He is the author of Creating Significant Learning Experiences. Blooms Taxonomy consists of three parts: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Teachers most often use just the cognitive style of learning.

Fink’s goal is for new styles of learning that go beyond cognitive thinking. Fink expresses that “individuals and organizations involved in higher education are expressing a need for important kinds of learning that do not emerge easily from the Bloom taxonomy, for example: learning how to learn, leadership and interpersonal skills, ethics, communication skills, character, tolerance, the ability to adapt to change, etc.(Fink)”

Fink’s diagram of significant learning is in the shape of a circle instead of a pyramid. The circle represents that all of the components are connected, and are equally important. Bloom’s diagram of a pyramid represents higher and lower levels of thinking.

Fink's Significant Learning

Fink’s Significant Learning

For a description of each skill, below is a link to Dr. Fink’s significant learning.