All three learning domains, cognitive, psychomotor, and affective, are all necessary in order to help the whole student learn. Benjamin Bloom made the cognitive domain more specific by breaking it down into six levels. Each level becomes more complex as it continues and attempts to increase student learning, which is seen through the verbs associated with each level. When creating cognitive objectives, it is important to think about each level of thinking that the objective is in order to make the objective developmentally appropriate.
The lowest level of thinking is knowledge and it includes the basic levels of thinking. This includes memorizing, repeating, defining and listing, for example. The next level is understanding, which includes explaining, recognizing, reviewing and classifying. Many times objectives are written at these two levels because they are easily measured. Reminder, these are the two lowest levels of cognitive learning, so for older students it is best to avoid these levels.
Application is the next level, which includes demonstrate, sketch, schedule and write. This is also very easily measurable, but requires the student to create something rather than repeat it. The next level is analysis, which includes analyze, examine, question and test. Objectives that are written at this level usually are written for upper middle school students because it requires more of a knowledge base than others.
The last two levels are synthesis and evaluation. Synthesis includes verbs like arrange, collect, prepare, and propose. Evaluation includes verbs like argue, assess, evaluate, and support. These two levels are usually done at the high school age and continued into the college levels.
When writing objectives, remember that it is important to be clear and concise. The ABCD’s of objective writing should be looked at before writing objectives and reviewed when finishing. To create developmentally appropriate cognitive objectives, it is important to look at Bloom’s Taxonomy and decide the best level for the class.