WesternU E-Learning

Online Training for Faculty and Staff


In 1956, Benjamin Bloom with collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl published a framework for categorizing educational goals: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Familiarly known as Bloom’s Taxonomy, this framework has been applied by generations of K-12 teachers and college instructors in their teaching.

The framework elaborated by Bloom and his collaborators consisted of six major categories: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

The categories after Knowledge were presented as “skills and abilities,” with the understanding that knowledge was the necessary precondition for putting these skills and abilities into practice.

While each category contained subcategories, all lying along a continuum from simple to complex and concrete to abstract, the taxonomy is popularly remembered according to the six main categories. In 2001 a revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy with the title A Taxonomy for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment was published, drawing attention away from the somewhat static notion of “educational objectives” (in Bloom’s original title) and points to a more dynamic conception of classification. The authors of the revised taxonomy underscore this dynamism, using verbs and gerunds to label their categories and subcategories (rather than the nouns of the original taxonomy). These “action words” describe the cognitive processes by which thinkers encounter and work with knowledge. For this tutorial, we’ll be using the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy module.



How to Write Learning Objectives Using Bloom’s Taxonomy


Why Use Bloom’s Taxonomy?

The authors of the revised taxonomy suggest a multi-layered answer to this question, to which the author of this teaching guide has added some clarifying points:

  1. Objectives (learning goals) are important to establish in a pedagogical interchange so that teachers and students alike understand the purpose of that interchange.
  2. Organizing objectives helps to clarify objectives for themselves and for students.
  3. Having an organized set of objectives helps teachers to:
    • “plan and deliver appropriate instruction”;
    • “design valid assessment tasks and strategies”;and
    • “ensure that instruction and assessment are aligned with the objectives.”

Citations are from A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives.


In the activity below, select the verb that is best aligned with the level of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

To help you in your quest, click to download the Blooms Taxonomy Staircase PDF.