Psychomotor Domain Taxonomy
This domain is characterized by
of behaviors from
observation to mastery of a physical skill. Several different
In 1972 E. Simpson built this
work of Bloom and
cues guide motor activity
physical, and emotional dispositions that
make one respond in a certain way to a situation
attempts at a physical skill. Trial
and error coupled with practice lead to better performance
intermediate stage in learning a physical
skill. Responses are habitual with a medium level of assurance and
movements are possible
with a minimum of wasted effort and a high level of assurance they will
can be modified for special
movements can be created for special
Simpson, E. (1972). The
classification of educational
objectives in the psychomotor
The psychomotor domain. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Gryphon
The psychomotor domain (Simpson, 1972) includes physical
coordination, and use of the motor-skill areas. Development of these
skills requires practice and is measured in terms of speed, precision,
distance, procedures, or techniques in execution. The seven major
categories are listed from the simplest behavior to the most complex:
Example and Key Words (verbs)
The ability to use sensory cues to guide motor activity. This
from sensory stimulation, through cue selection, to translation.
Detects non-verbal communication cues. Estimate where a ball will land
after it is thrown and then moving to the correct location to catch the
ball. Adjusts heat of stove to correct temperature by smell and taste
of food. Adjusts the height of the forks on a forklift by comparing
where the forks are in relation to the pallet.
Key Words: chooses, describes, detects,
differentiates, distinguishes, identifies, isolates, relates, selects.
Readiness to act. It includes mental, physical, and emotional
These three sets are dispositions that predetermine a person's response
to different situations (sometimes called mindsets).
Knows and acts upon a sequence of steps in a manufacturing process.
Recognize one's abilities and limitations. Shows desire to learn a new
process (motivation). NOTE: This subdivision of Psychomotor is closely
related with the “Responding to phenomena” subdivision of the Affective
Key Words: begins, displays, explains, moves,
proceeds, reacts, shows, states, volunteers.
The early stages in learning a complex skill that includes imitation
and trial and error. Adequacy of performance is achieved by practicing.
Performs a mathematical equation as demonstrated. Follows instructions
to build a model. Responds hand signals of instructor while learning to
operate a forklift.
Key Words: copies, traces, follows, react,
This is the intermediate stage in learning a complex
responses have become habitual and the movements can be performed with
some confidence and proficiency.
Examples: Use a personal
computer. Repair a leaking faucet. Drive a car.
assembles, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays, fastens,
fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes, organizes,
Complex Overt Response:
The skillful performance of motor acts that involve complex movement
patterns. Proficiency is indicated by a quick, accurate, and
coordinated performance, requiring a minimum of energy. This
includes performing without hesitation, and automatic
example, players are often utter sounds of satisfaction or expletives
as soon as they hit a tennis ball or throw a football, because they can
tell by the feel of the act what the result will produce.
a car into a tight parallel parking spot. Operates a computer quickly
and accurately. Displays competence while playing the piano.
assembles, builds, calibrates, constructs, dismantles, displays,
fastens, fixes, grinds, heats, manipulates, measures, mends, mixes,
NOTE: The Key Words are the same as
Mechanism, but will have adverbs or adjectives that indicate that the
performance is quicker, better, more accurate, etc.
Adaptation: Skills are well developed and the
individual can modify movement patterns to fit special requirements.
effectively to unexpected experiences. Modifies instruction to
the needs of the learners. Perform a task with a machine that it was
not originally intended to do (machine is not damaged and there is no
danger in performing the new task).
Key Words: adapts, alters, changes, rearranges,
reorganizes, revises, varies.
Creating new movement patterns to fit a particular situation or
specific problem. Learning outcomes emphasize creativity based upon
highly developed skills.
Examples: Constructs a new theory.
Develops a new and comprehensive training programming. Creates a new
Key Words: arranges, builds, combines, composes,
constructs, creates, designs, initiate, makes, originates.
In 1970 R. H. Dave developed the following taxonomy:
and patterning behavior after someone else. Performance may be of low
quality. Example: Copying a work of art.
via instruction to perform a skill. Being able to perform certain
actions by following instructions and
practicing. Example: Creating work on one's own, after taking lessons,
or reading about it.
proportion and exactness exist in the
skill performance without the presence of the original source.
Refining, becoming more exact. Few errors are apparent. Example:
Working and reworking something, so it will be “just right.”
or more skills combined, sequenced, and
performed consistently. Coordinating a series of actions, achieving
harmony and internal
consistency. Example: Producing a video that involves music, drama,
color, sound, etc.
or more skills combined, sequenced,
and performed consistently and with ease. The performance is automatic
with little physical or mental exertion. Having high level performance
become natural, without needing to think
much about it. Examples: Michael Jordan playing basketball, Nancy Lopez
hitting a golf ball, etc.
Based upon R. H. Dave, as reported
in R. J. Armstrong et al.,
Developing and Writing Behavioral Objectives (Tucson, AZ:
Educational Innovators Press,
In 1972 A.J. Harrow developed this taxonomy. It is
according to the degree
of coordination including involuntary responses and learned
reactions. Reactions that are not learned.
movements that can
build to more complex sets of movements. Basic movements such as
walking, or grasping.
cues that allow one to adjust
movements. Response to stimuli such as visual, auditory, kinesthetic,
or tactile discrimination.
requiring endurance, strength,
vigor, and agility. Stamina that must be developed for further
enhancement of strength and agility.
where a level of efficiency
is achieved. Advanced learned movements as one would find in sports or
body language, such as gestures and facial expressions.
(1972). A taxonomy of the psychomotor domain.
New York: David McKay Co.
The following list is a combination of the above
Active mental attending of a physical event.
|The learner watches a more experienced
person. Other mental activity, such as reading may be a pert of
the observation process.
||Attempted copying of a physical behavior.
|The first steps in learning a skill. The
learner is observed and given direction and feedback on performance.
Movement is not automatic or smooth.
||Trying a specific physical activity over
||The skill is repeated over and over. The
entire sequence is performed
repeatedly. Movement is moving towards becoming automatic and
||Fine tuning. Making minor adjustments in
the physical activity in order to perfect it.
||The skill is perfected. A mentor or a coach
is often needed to provide
an outside perspective on how to improve or adjust as needed for the
Behavioral Verbs Appropriate
for the Psychomotor Domain
- differentiate (by touch)
- perform (skillfully)
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