1.6a. Cognitive Domain of Learning

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1.6a. Cognitive Domain

The cognitive domain includes both knowledge and the mental processes we use to manipulate knowledge.
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KNOWLEDGE is the first level we encounter in the Cognitive Hierarchy. Knowledge, as defined here, involves the recall of specifics and universals, the recall of methods and processes, or the recall of a pattern, structure, or setting. This recall involves little more than bringing to mind the appropriate material. The knowledge level represents most the psychological process of remembering. To use an analogy, if one thinks of the mind as a file, the problem in a knowledge test situation is that of finding in the problem or task the appropriate signals, cues, and clues which will most effectively bring out whatever knowledge is filed or stored.

This includes: KNOWLEDGE OF SPECIFICS – the recall of isolated and specific bits of information; and and KNOWLEDGE OF TERMINOLOGY – the ability to define terms by giving their attributes, properties, or relations

Another set of knowledge is KNOWLEDGE OF THE WAYS AND MEANS OF DEALING WITH SPECIFICS, in other words, knowledge of the ways of organizing, studying, judging, and criticizing. This knowledge is at an intermediate level of abstraction, between specific knowledge on the one hand and knowledge of universals on the other. It includes:

  1. KNOWLEDGE OF CONVENTIONS – familiarity with the forms and conventions of the major types of works such as scientific papers, that is : To make students conscious of correct form and usage in speech and writing;
  2. KNOWLEDGE OF TRENDS AND SEQUENCES – Knowledge of the basic trends underlying the development of a professional techniques;
  3. KNOWLEDGE OF CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES – To recognize the area encompassed by energy medicine; To become familiar with a range of literature on AIDS.;
  4. KNOWLEDGE OF CRITERIA – Knowledge of criteria for the evaluation of a client with a history of anxiety attacks;
  5. KNOWLEDGE OF METHODOLOGY – Knowledge of the methods for treating clients with particular problems.

Finally there is KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSALS AND ABSTRACTIONS IN A FIELD. This is knowledge of the structures, theories, and generalizations which dominate a field of study. These are the highest levels of abstraction and complexity and include: KNOWLEDGE OF PRINCIPLES AND GENERALIZATIONS – Knowledge of the important body/mind/spirit principles which govern the health of the body; and KNOWLEDGE OF THEORIES AND STRUCTURES -Knowledge of the structure and function of the human body/mind/spirit.

Did you think there was so much, just in the first level of the Cognitive Domain?

The remaining 5 levels of the Cognitive Domain deal with our INTELLECTUAL SKILLS AND ABILITIES. They refer to organized modes of operation and generalized techniques for dealing with materials and problems. They are the mental processes used to deal with knowledge. They may require a certain knowledge base, but can also be developed and used aside from the knowledge, which can be given at the time. They must be equally developed or students are unable to use the knowledge given to them.

They include:

COMPREHENSION – which represents the lowest level of understanding. Forms include:

  1. TRANSLATION – the ability to understand non-literal statements such as metaphor, symbolism, irony;
  2. INTERPRETATION – the ability to grasp the thought of the work as a whole at any desired level of generality and
  3. EXTRAPOLATION – the ability to deal with extension of tendencies beyond the given data to determine implications and consequences.

Still higher in our hierarchy is APPLICATION, or the use of abstractions in particular and concrete situations. For example: After a given treatment, what may result? Abstractions may be in the form of general rules or procedure’s, generalized methods, technical principles and ideas.

ANALYSIS progresses further into the problem-solving mode of cognition by asking the learner to breakdown a given theory or problem into its constituent parts so that the relative hierarchy of ideas is made clear and/or relations between the ideas are made explicit. It includes:

  1. ANALYSIS OF ELEMENTS – ability to recognize unstated assumptions; skill in distinguishing facts from hypotheses.
  2. ANALYSIS OF RELATIONSHIPS – skill in determining relationships between mental and physical health;
  3. ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES – ability to recognize the general techniques used by each profession.

In SYNTHESIS, the learner puts together elements and parts so as to form a whole. It includes:

  1. PRODUCTION OF A UNIQUE COMMUNICATION – such as skill in writing, using an excellent organization of ideas and statements;
  2. PRODUCTION OF A PLAN, OR PROPOSED SET OF OPERATIONS – like the ability to propose ways of testing hypotheses or the ability to plan a unit of instruction for a particular teaching situation – which all of you will be doing shortly.
  3. Lastly, syntheses involves the DERIVATION OF A SET OF ABSTRACT RELATIONS – the ability to formulate appropriate hypotheses based upon an analysis of factors involved, and to modify such hypotheses in the the light of new factors and considerations.

Finally, on the Cognitive Domain Hierarchy, we come to EVALUATION or judgments about the value of material and methods for given purposes. Evaluation is based on both INTERNAL EVIDENCE such as logical accuracy, internal consistency and general probabilities and EXTERNAL CRITERIA or developed external standards of performance in our professions.

COGNITIVE DOMAIN IN DETAIL

RECALL ABILITIES

1.00 KNOWLEDGE

Involves recall, or being able to bring to mind specific material. Involves the process of remembering.

1.10 KNOWLEDGE OF SPECIFICS

The recall of isolated and specific bits of information.

1.11 KNOWLEDGE OF TERMINOLOGY

The ability to define technical terms by giving their attributes, properties, or relations.

1.12 KNOWLEDGE OF SPECIFIC FACTS

Knowledge of dates, events, person, places.


The learner can recall facts about a particular culture.

1.20 KNOWLEDGE OF WAYS AND MEANS OF DEALING WITH SPECIFICS

Knowledge of the ways of organizing, studying, judging, and criticizing.

1.21 KNOWLEDGE OF CONVENTIONS

Familiarity with the forms and conventions of the major types of works, such as scientific papers.

The learner is conscious of correct form and usage in speech and writing.

1.21 KNOWLEDGE OF TRENDS AND SEQUENCES

Knowledge of the processes, directions, and movements of a phenomena with respect to time.

The learner knows the basic trends underlying the development of public health programs.

1.23 KNOWLEDGE OF CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES

Knowledge of the classes, sets, divisions which are fundamental for a given subject, field, purpose or problem.

The learner is familiar with a range of types of literature in his or her field.

1.24 KNOWLEDGE OF CRITERIA

Knowledge of the criteria by which facts, principles, opinions, and conduct are tested or judged.

The learner can describe the criteria for the evaluation of a recreational facility.

1.25 KNOWLEDGE OF METHODOLOGY

Knowledge of the methods of inquiry, techniques, and procedures employed in a particular subject field. (Knowledge of the method, not necessarily the ability to use the method.

The learner can describe scientific methods used for evaluating health care.

1.30 KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNIVERSALS AND ABSTRACTIONS IN A FIELD

Knowledge of the structures, theories, and generalization which dominate a field of study.

1.31 KNOWLEDGE OF PRINCIPLES AND GENERALIZATIONS

Knowledge of the theories which are of value in explaining, describing, predicting, or determining the most appropriate and relevant action or direction to be taken.

The learner will describe the important physiological principles which govern the health of the body.

1.32. KNOWLEDGE OF THEORIES AND STRUCTURES

Knowledge of the principles and generalizations which together present a clear view of a systematic phenomena.

The learner will describe the structure and function of the human body.

INTELLECTUAL ABILITIES AND SKILLS

2.0 COMPREHENSION

The individual knows what is being communicated and can make use of the material or idea being communicated without necessarily relating it to other material or seeing its fullest implications.

2.10 TRANSLATION

The care and accuracy with which a communication is paraphrased.


The learner is able to understand non-literal statements such as metaphor, symbolism, irony

2.20 INTERPRETATION

The explanation or summarization of a communication


The learner is able to interpret various types of social data.

2.30 EXTRAPOLATION

The extension of trends or tendencies beyond the give date to determine implications, consequences, and effects.


The learner predicts the typical course of having the flu.

3.0 APPLICATION

The use of abstractions in particular and concrete situations.


The learner predicts the effects of standard health care treatments on individual medical conditions.

4.0 ANALYSIS

The breakdown of a given theory or problem into its constituent parts so that the relative hierarchy of ideas is made clear and/or relations between the ideas are made explicit.

4.10 ANALYSIS OF ELEMENTS

Identification of the elements included in a communication.

The learner is able to recognize unstated assumptions and can distinguish facts from hypotheses.

4.20 ANALYSIS OF RELATIONSHIPS

The connections and interactions between elements and parts of a situation.


The learner is able to check the consistency of a hypotheses with given information and assumptions.

4.30 ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES

The organization, systematic arrangement, and structure which hold the system together.


The learner is able to recognize the general techniques used in persuasive materials, such as advertising, propaganda, etc.

5.0 SYNTHESIS

The putting together of elements and parts so as to form a whole.

5.10 PRODUCTION OF A UNIQUE COMMUNICATION

The development of a communication in which the writer or speaker attempts to convey ideas, feelings, and/or experiences to others.


The learner is able to write a paper demonstrating excellent organization of ideas and statement.

5.20 PRODUCTION OF A PLAN, OR PROPOSED SET OF OPERATIONS

The development of a plan of work or the proposal of a plan of operations.


The learner is able to plan a unit of instruction for a particular teaching situation.

5.30 DERIVATION OF A SET OF ABSTRACT RELATIONS

The development of a set of abstract relations either to classify or explain particular data or phenomena.

The learner is able to formulate appropriate hypotheses based upon an analysis of factors involved and to modify such hypotheses in light of new factors and consideratoins.

6.0 EVALUATION</p>

Judgments about the value of material and methods for given purposes.

6.10 JUDGMENTS IN TERMS OF INTERNAL EVIDENCE

Evaluation of the accuracy of a subject from evidence such as consistency, logical progression.

The learner is able to indicate logical fallacies in arguments.

6.20 JUDGMENTS IN TERMS OF EXTERNAL CRITERIA

Evaluation of materials with reference to selected or remembered criteria.


The learner is able to compare a work with the highest known standards in its field.

Be sure to take the Self Test at the top of the page before proceeding to your next unit,1.6b Affective Domain of Learning




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