Design and teach a course

Horizontal and vertical alignment tools and Bloom's taxonomy

There are a number of taxonomies that provide legitimate structures for designing alignment. You can see more detail about these taxonomies (also often called 'models') in the table of contents to the left. 

Most models have their conceptual roots in 'Blooms Cognitive' taxonomy. The collaboration that created Bloom's Cognitive taxonomy also created two other taxonomies: the 'affective domain' and the 'psycho-motor domain'.

  • The cognitive domain is about thinking / conceptualisation (see Anderson's taxonomy below).
  • The affective domain deals with ethics, values and behaviours, which are very hard to measure.
  • The psycho-motor domain deals with physical education: motor / muscular skills and things like expressive movement such as dance.


Bloom's cognitive domain (Bloom's Taxonomy 1956)

1. Knowledge: Remembering or retrieving previously learned material.

Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: know, identify, relate, list, record, name, recognize, acquire

2. Comprehension: The ability to grasp or construct meaning from material.

Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: restate, locate, report, recognize, explain, express, illustrate, interpret, draw, represent, differentiate

3. Application: The ability to use learned material, or to implement material in new and concrete situations.

Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: apply, relate, develop, translate, use, operate, practice, calculate, show, exhibit, dramatize

4. Analysis: The ability to break down or distinguish the parts of material into its components so that its organizational structure may be better understood.

Examples of verbs that relate to this function re: analyze, compare, probe, inquire, examine, contrast, categorize, experiment, scrutinize, discover, inspect, dissect, discriminate, separate

5. Synthesis: The ability to put parts together to form a coherent or unique new whole.

Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: compose, produce, design, assemble, create, prepare, predict, modify, tell, propose, develop, arrange, construct, organize, originate, derive, write, propose

6. Evaluation: The ability to judge, check, and even critique the value of material for a given purpose.

Examples of verbs that relate to this function are: judge, assess, compare, evaluate, conclude, measure, deduce, validate, consider, appraise, value, criticize, infer

Adapted from 


Bloom's affective domain

Category or 'level'

Behavior descriptions

Examples of experience, or demonstration and evidence to be measured

'Key words' (verbs which describe the activity to be trained or measured at each level)

1. Receiving

Open to experience, willing to hear

Listen to teacher or trainer, take interest in session or learning experience, take notes, turn up, make time for learning experience, participate passively

Ask, listen, focus, attend, take part, discuss, acknowledge, hear, be open to, retain, follow, concentrate, read, do, feel

2. Responding

React and participate actively

Participate actively in group discussion, active participation in activity, interest in outcomes, enthusiasm for action, question and probe ideas, suggest interpretation

React, respond, seek clarification, interpret, clarify, provide other references and examples, contribute, question, present, cite, become animated or excited, help team, write, perform

3. Valuing

Attach values and express personal opinions

Decide worth and relevance of ideas, experiences; accept or commit to particular stance or action

Argue, challenge, debate, refute, confront, justify, persuade, criticize,

4. Organizing or Conceptualizing Values

Reconcile internal conflicts; develop value system

Qualify and quantify personal views, state personal position and reasons, state beliefs

Build, develop, formulate, defend, modify, relate, prioritize, reconcile, contrast, arrange, compare

5. Internalizing or Characterizing Values

Adopt belief system and philosophy

Self-reliant; behave consistently with personal value set

Act, display, influence

Adapted from 


The psychomotor domain 

Bloom never completed the Psychomotor Domain. The most recognised version (below) was developed by Ravindra H. Dave.

Category or 'level'

Behavior Descriptions

Examples of activity or demonstration and evidence to be measured

'Key words' (verbs which describe the activity to be trained or measured at each level)


Copy action of another; observe and replicate

Watch teacher or trainer and repeat action, process or activity

Copy, follow, replicate, repeat, adhere, attempt, reproduce, organize, sketch, duplicate


Reproduce activity from instruction or memory

Carry out task from written or verbal instruction

Re-create, build, perform, execute, implement, acquire, conduct, operate


Execute skill reliably, independent of help, activity is quick, smooth, and accurate

Perform a task or activity with expertise and to high quality without assistance or instruction; able to demonstrate an activity to other learners

Demonstrate, complete, show, perfect, calibrate, control, achieve, accomplish, master, refine


Adapt and integrate expertise to satisfy a new context or task

Relate and combine associated activities to develop methods to meet varying, novel requirements

Solve, adapt, combine, coordinate, revise, integrate, adapt, develop, formulate, modify, master


Instinctive, effortless, unconscious mastery of activity and related skills at strategic level

Define aim, approach and strategy for use of activities to meet strategic need

Construct, compose, create, design, specify, manage, invent, project-manage, originate

Adapted from