Types of Objectives

Within education,  the majority of objectives used in curriculum are behavioral. Behavioral objectives are actions the student performs that are measurable and observable.  As shared previously, objectives need to have an action, condition, and proficiency in order to meet the general criteria of being an objective.

In order to develop various objectives that are able to assess different aspects of the educational experience, researchers have developed three domains of learning. The domains are cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.  Each domain has several levels of behavior from simple to complex and within each level, there are many verbs that can be used to develop the active component of an objective.

Cognitive Domain (Bloom’s Taxonomy)

The cognitive domain has six levels that address cognitive learning. Verbs for each level can be found on the internet

  1. Knowledge-Recall specific facts
  2. Comprehension-Interpreting or summarizing information
  3. Application-Using knowledge in a different setting
  4. Analysis-Breaking a whole into parts to identify relationships
  5. Synthesis-Combining ideas into a new concept
  6. Evaluation-Making judgments based on criteria

This is the most famous domain of the three and the majority of objectives for many curricula are derived from it.

Affective Domain

The affective domain looks at the values, beliefs, and attitudes of students. This domain has 5 levels.

  1. Receiving-Awareness of a stimulus
  2. Responding-Paying attention to a stimulus
  3. Valuing-Showing preference for something
  4. Organization-Developing a system of values
  5. Characterization-Consistency of internal beliefs with behavior

Psychomotor Domain

This domain focuses on movement and mastery of action. It is divided into five levels.

  1. Imitation-Seeing a behavior and duplicating it
  2. Manipulation-Performing an action by hearing or reading about it but not seeing it
  3. Precision-Performing an action without seeing, hearing or reading about it. Takes practice and precision
  4. Articulation-Performing a series of actions accurately
  5. Naturalization-Action is complex yet performed automatically with little effort

Each of these domains is appropriate in the classroom depending on the needs of the student and teacher’s interest.

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