The Three Types of Learning
There is more than one type of learning. A committee of colleges, led by Benjamin Bloom (1956), identified three domains of educational activities:
o Cognitive: mental skills (Knowledge)
o Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (Attitude)
o Psychomotor: manual or physical skills (Skills)
Since thework was produced by higher education, the words tend to be a little bigger than we normally use. Domains can be thought of as categories. Trainers often refer to these three categories as KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude). This taxonomy of learning behaviors can be thought of as “the goals of the learning process.” That is, after a learning episode, the learner should have acquired new skills,knowledge, and/or attitudes.
The committee also produced an elaborate compilation for the cognitive and affective domains, but none for the psychomotor domain. Their explanation for this oversight was that they have little experience in teaching manual skills within the college level (I guess they never thought to check with their sports or drama departments).
This compilation divides the threedomains into subdivisions, starting from the simplest behavior to the most complex. The divisions outlined are not absolutes and there are other systems or hierarchies that have been devised in the educational and training world. However, Bloom's taxonomy is easily understood and is probably the most widely applied one in use today.
The cognitive domain (Bloom, 1956) involvesknowledge and the development of intellectual skills. This includes the recall or recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns, and concepts that serve in the development of intellectual abilities and skills. There are six major categories, which are listed in order below, starting from the simplest behavior to the most complex. The categories can be thought of as degrees of difficulties.That is, the first ones must normally be mastered before the next ones can take place.
|Category |Example and Key Words (verbs) |
|Knowledge: Recall data or information. |Examples: Recite a policy. Quote prices from memory to a customer. |
||Knows the safety rules. |
| |Key Words: defines, describes, identifies, knows, labels, lists, |
| |matches, names, outlines, recalls, recognizes, reproduces, selects,|
|Comprehension: Understand the meaning, translation, |Examples: Rewrites the principles of test writing. Explain in one's|
|interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and |own words the steps for performing a complex task. Translates an |
|problems. State a problem in one's own words. |equation into a computer spreadsheet.|
| |Key Words: comprehends, converts, defends, distinguishes, |
| |estimates, explains, extends, generalizes, gives an example, |
| |infers, interprets, paraphrases, predicts, rewrites, summarizes,|
| |translates. |
|Application: Use a concept in a new situation or |Examples: Use a manual to calculate an employee's vacation time. |
|unprompted use of an abstraction. Applies what was |Apply laws of statistics to evaluate the reliability of a written |
|learned in the...