Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

Effective applied learning activities should be intentionally designed to address specific learning objectives. In addition, authors of learning activities should know what cognitive processes are being exercised along with what prior cognitive skill and knowledge is required. The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (RBT) provides a framework for educators to communicate about these ideas within a course or a curriculum.

The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is an update of the original, and was developed to be more understandable and complete than its predecessor. The Taxonomy shown in Table 1 consists of a Cognitive Processes dimension and a Knowledge dimension.

The Cognitive Process Dimension includes six categories that increase in cognitive complexity which are: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create ( many authors use the verb forms which are Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating). The assertion is that each level is a fundamental component of the next, and must be mastered before the next can be performed. For example, in order to Understand, one must Remember. In order to Apply, one must Understand and so on.

The Knowledge Dimension, also shown in Table 1 consists of four categories: Factual Knowledge, Conceptual Knowledge, Procedural Knowledge, and Metacognitive Knowledge.

Factual Knowledge pertains to the basic elements of a discipline that learners must know such as the terminology for objects and the specific details about those objects.

Conceptual Knowledge pertains to ideas and the interrelationships among basic elements that enable them to function together such as classifications, categories, principles, generalizations, theories, models, and structures.

Procedural Knowledge pertains to processes and how they are performed, methods of inquiry, and judgment for which skills should be used, and which algorithms, techniques, and methods are indicated.

Metacognitive Knowledge pertains to one’s awareness and understanding of one’s own cognition and strategies for either learning or performing.

These dimensions are consistent with a learn, think, and do approach to building competence. What learners should be able to do is represented by Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating. These competencies require higher-order thinking skills, and also build upon the lower-order thinking skills of Remembering and Understanding. The content in terms of facts, concepts, procedures, and strategies that need to be learned in order to do these activities is represented by the Knowledge dimension.

Classifying learning activities

Let’s consider a learning activity that is a quiz on definitions. What position would it occupy in the taxonomy table? The objective of the quiz would be to Remember Factual Knowledge so it would be positioned at the intersection of those two dimensions in the table. What about providing extension advice to farmers? Depending on the advice, it would likely be at the intersection of Apply and Conceptual Knowledge. What about an applied learning activity to create a plant breeding program for a crop? It would be at or near the intersection of Create and Procedural Knowledge.

While using the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy to classify an applied learning activity is helpful, its greatest value is that it reminds educators to consider the subsumed intersections of knowledge and cognitive processes for a particular activity. These intersections identify the constituent skills and knowledge required to successfully complete the activity.

For example, before learners are given an applied learning activity to design a plant breeding program, an educator should consider whether or not learners have mastered the requisite constituent skills and knowledge so as to impose a manageable cognitive load. While considering the activity an educator should ask,

  • What procedures, concepts, and knowledge will learners need to know and be able to apply?
  • Have learners developed sufficient analytical and evaluation skills for this task?
  • Have I modeled the cognitive processes that I want them to use?
  • Do learners know where to find any additional knowledge they will need?
  • Have I formulated the applied learning activity in such a way that learners know what I am asking them to create?

Table 1.


The Cognitive Process Dimension

Knowledge Dimension







Factual Knowledge







Conceptual Knowledge



Advice to constituents




Procedural Knowledge






Create a disaster response plan

Metacognitive Knowledge






How I solve problems

Alignment of a curriculum using the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy

Alignment within a curriculum occurs when learning objectives, instructional activities and materials, and assessments are consistent with one another. In essence, what learners are told to learn is consistent with what is taught or assigned, which is consistent with what is assessed. Misalignment is indicated by statements from learners such as,

  • “I didn’t know what I was supposed to learn.”
  • “Why are you talking about that when we aren’t expected to know it?”
  • “Why did the test have questions that we never talked about in class, and were not in the readings?”

The Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used bring about alignment within a course or a curriculum by plotting learning objectives, instructional activities, and quiz/tests/applied learning activities on the same table. Intersections of cognitive processes and knowledge that have no entries may indicate gaps in content that can be identified and filled, while areas of over-learning can be reduced. Sections that have an objective and an assessment without instruction activities also can be identified. In addition, applied learning activities should be plotted on the same grid to ensure that course material is being applied in an authentic real-world context.

Bloom’s cognitive processes, verbs, and potential activities

An additional resource, Revised Bloom’s Handout, by Rex Heer at Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, further explains the intersections of Knowledge and Cognitive Processes with examples of learning activities for each.

A pdf copy of “Quick Flip Questions for Revised Blooms Taxonomy” provided by Edupress has been made available to Rick Mills Consulting and is available for purchase at a very reasonable price. It contains key words and stems of questions that are characteristic of each level of the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. It was scanned by, and used with permission of Edupress, a Trademark of Highsmith, LLC.

For example, questions that start with “What is…” or “Recall…” are characteristic of learning activities at the Remembering level, whereas questions such as, “What approach would you use…” or “How would you use…” are typically used at the Applying level. And finally, questions such as, “How would you improve…” or “What way would you design…” are associated with the Evaluating and Creating levels.

Additional resources

Another resource for learning more about Bloom’s Taxonomy is from Northern Illinois University Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Bloom's Taxonomy, in Instructional Guide for University Faculty and Teaching Assistants. Retrieved from This site has many other resources that educators will find useful.