Skip to main content

General Use of Bloom's Taxonomy



Bloom’s Taxonomy is an educational tool for designing strong learning outcomes. Experiential educators can also use it to create writing prompts that support those outcomes. The original Taxonomy, published in 1956, describes six levels of cognitive processing: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation. The Taxonomy was updated in 2001, with Creation replacing Evaluation as a category, and with active verbs instead of noun forms (Krathwohl, 2002). 

Basics of Practice


Teachers should know that while Bloom’s Taxonomy is an effective educational tool, it does not current cognitive science (Newton et. al, 2020, p. 4). Bloom made some unsubstantiated claims about the order in which the Taxonomy should be approached (Newton et. al, 2020, p. 2). Although the different levels of the Taxonomy do not necessarily build on each other, the categories help teachers structure both effective learning outcomes and reflective writing prompts.

Educators can use these cognitive processes to write specific learning outcomes. The most effective learning outcomes are specific and action-oriented (Newton et al., 2020, pp. 1-2). Teachers may consult lists of good verbs, such as the one created by Newton et al. (2020, p. 4), in creating action-oriented outcomes and experiential writing prompts. When teachers create writing prompts based on specific, measurable verbs, students produce writing that can be effectively assessed (Newton et al., 2020, p. 1). Such verbs also prompt more engaged and focused student learning. Teachers can use the paradigm established on this website—activity/discussion/writing/more discussion—to make the most out of such writing prompts. By creating action-oriented writing prompts and guiding students through the cognitive processes, teachers help students experience deep learning, make new connections, and grow from the material.


  • Determine what kinds of cognition you want your students to perform.
    • Remember (memory) learning outcomes and prompts consist of memorizing information
    • Understand (comprehension) learning outcomes and prompts require students to master principles
    • Apply (application) learning outcomes and prompts ask students to use memorized information and understanding of principles in experiential contexts
    • Analyze (analysis) learning outcomes and prompts require students to break a system, text, or operation into its component parts and to observe patterns.
    • Create (synthesis) learning outcomes and prompts ask students to put elements together in new contexts, creating texts, operations, systems. 
    • Evaluate (evaluation) learning outcomes and prompts ask students to do a systematic evaluation, not to judge quickly on gut feelings. 
  • Use the specific articles in this website on these areas of Bloom’s taxonomy to discover specific verbs and write learning outcomes and prompts: 
    • Remember, Understand, Apply 
    • Analyze
    • Create
    • Evaluate
  • A few sample prompts and questions:
    • What are the principles of leave no trace camping (memory). 
    • What do you understand and what don’t you understand? (understanding)
    • How has this experience helped you understand better the other members of our group? (application)
    • We just learned about collating insect collections. Look at the insect you just caught and write three distinguishing characteristics and defend your choice. (analysis)
    • We have a new advertising campaign that we need to create. What similarities do you find between the structure and management of this account and other ad campaigns you’ve written in the past? (analysis)
    • Our research question is X. What do you postulate for our hypothesis? What experiments might we make to test that hypothesis? (creation)
    • Which document (or experiment, method, style, approach) is more effective, X or Y? (evaluation)
    • We just hiked across difficult terrain (or we just finished a difficult project, training session, experiment, ad campaign). What went well and what could be improved? (analysis and evaluation) What skills did you develop and what do you feel about the process or the community you worked with? (analysis and creation)
    • How has this experience changed your perception of yourself (creation)

Teaching Materials and Resources

Quick Links

Armstrong, P. (2010). Bloom's taxonomy. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

Forehand, M. (2019). Chapter 8: Bloom’s taxonomy. Instructional Methods, Strategies and Technologies to Meet the Needs of All Learners, ed. Author:Paula Lombardi M.Ed.

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University. Revised Bloom’s taxonomy.

Newton, Philip M.; Da Silva, Ana; Peters, Lee George (10 July 2020). "A pragmatic master list of action verbs for Bloom's taxonomy". Frontiers in Education. 5. doi:10.3389/feduc.2020.00107


Anderson, L.W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing. Abridged Edition. Allyn and Bacon.

Bloom, B. S.; Engelhart, M. D.; Furst, E. J.; Hill, W. H.; Krathwohl, D. R. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York: David McKay Company.

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory Into Practice, 41(4), 212–218. doi:10.1207/s15430421tip4104_2

Newton, P. M., Da Silva, A., Peters, L. G. (2020). A pragmatic master list of action verbs for Bloom's taxonomy. Frontiers in Education, 5. doi:10.3389/feduc.2020.00107