Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor Domains



Assignments are graded at the level indicated on the assignment.  Generally, in Pharm 439, higher cognitive levels are expected (e.g., application and higher).  Use the following tables to help you prepare your assignments.


Cognitive Domain


According to various researchers there are six levels of cognitive complexity: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation.  In the chart below, note the hierarchical arrangement, which means that higher levels subsume ability in lower levels.  The higher the level, the presumably more complex mental operation is required.  Higher levels are not necessarily more desirable than lower levels, because one cannot achieve the higher levels without an ability to use the lower levels.  As one moves up into higher levels, however, the more applicable the skills are to those needed in daily life.







Action Verbs Describing Learning Outcomes



Requires the formation of judgments and decisions about the value of methods, ideas, people, products.  Must be able to state the bases for judgments (e.g., external criteria or principles used to reach conclusions.) 


Sample question:  Evaluate the quality or worth of a value as applied to pharmacy.

Appraise                Judge
Compare                Justify
Contrast                 Support
Criticize                  Validate



Requires production of something unique or original.  At this level, one is expected to solve unfamiliar problems in unique way, or combine parts to form a unique or novel solution. 


Sample question:  Integrate data from several sources (e.g., various readings and observations at the service site).

Categorize             Devise
Compile                  Formulate
Compose               Predict
Create                     Produce



Identification of logical errors (e.g., point out contradictions, erroneous inference) or differentiate among facts, opinions, assumptions, hypotheses, conclusions.  One is expected to draw relations among ideas and to compare and contrast.


Sample question:  Deduce a client’s beliefs regarding preventive health actions.

Break down           Infer
Deduce                  Outline
Diagram                 Point out
Differentiate          Relate
Distinguish           Separate                                 out
Illustrate                                Subdivide



Use previously acquired information in a setting other than the one in which it was learned.  Because problems at this level are presented in a different and applied way, one cannot rely on content or context to solve the problem.


Sample question:  Organize your observations at a site to demonstrate a particular value.

Change                  Organize
Compute                Prepare
Demonstrate         Relate
Develop                 Solve
Modify                   Transfer
Operate                  Use



Some degree of understanding is required in order to change the form of communication, translate, restate what has been read or heard, see connections or relationships among parts of a communication (interpretation), draw conclusions, see consequences from information (inference).


Sample Question:  Explain pharmaceutical care.

Convert                  Extend
Defend                   Generalize
Discriminate          Infer
Distinguish           Paraphrase
Estimate                 Predict
Explain                   Summarize


Remember or recall information such as facts, terminology, problem-solving strategies, rules


Sample question:  Define pharmaceutical care.

Define                    Name
Describe                Outline
Identify                  Recall
Label                      Recite
List                         Select
Match                    State

Borich, G.D. (1996).  Effective teaching methods, 3rd Ed.  Englewood cliffs, NJ: Merrill.

Affective Domain


Like the cognitive domain, the affective domain is hierarchical with higher levels being more complex and depending upon mastery of the lower levels.  With movement to more complexity, one becomes more involved, committed, and self-reliant.  Note the parallel between external and internal motivation.  As one moves from being externally to internally motivated, one moves to higher levels.







Action Verbs Describing Learning Outcomes



All behavior displayed is consistent with one’s value system.  Values are integrated into a pervasive philosophy that never allows expressions that are out of character with those values.  Evaluation at this level involves the extent to which one has developed a consistent philosophy of life (e.g., exhibits respect for the worth and dignity of human beings in all situations).




Commitment to a set of values.  This level involves 1) forming a reason why one values certain things and not others, and 2) making appropriate choices between things that are and are not valued.  One is expected to organize likes and preferences into a value system and then to decide which ones will be dominant.

Abstract                Formulate
Balance                  Select
Compare                Systemize
Decide                    Theorize



Display behavior consistent with a single belief or attitude in situations where one is neither forced or asked to comply.  One is expected to demonstrate a preference or display a high degree of certainty and conviction.

Act                         Express
Argue                     Help
Convince               Organize
Debate                   Prefer



One is required to comply with given expectations by attending or reacting to certain stimuli.  One is expected to obey, participate, or respond willingly when asked or directed to do something.

Applaud                Participate
Comply                  Play
Discuss                  Practice
Follow                    Volunteer


One is expect to be aware of or to passively attend to certain stimuli or phenomena.  Simply listening and being attentive are the expectations.

Attend                   Listen
Be aware                Look
Control                   Notice
Discern                  Share


Psychomotor Domain

This domain is given primarily for information.  Other courses within the curriculum stress this various levels of psychomotor performance (e.g., Clinical Skills Laboratory, Pharmacy Practice I). 


Psychomotor behaviors are performed actions that are neuromuscular in nature and demand certain levels of physical dexterity.







Action Verbs Describing Learning Outcomes



High level of proficiency is necessary.  The behavior is performed with the least expenditure of energy, becomes routine, automatic, and spontaneous.

Automatically       Spontaneously
Effortlessly            With ease
Naturally                With perfection
Professionally       With poise



Requires the display of coordination of a series of related acts by establishing the appropriate sequence and performing the acts accurately, with control as well as with speed and timing.

Confidence            Smoothness
Coordination         Speed
Harmony                Stability
Integration            Timing



Requires performance of some action independent of either written instructions or a visual model.  One is expected to reproduce an action with control and to reduce errors to a minimum.

Accurately            Proficiently
Errorlessly             With balance
Independently      With control



Performance of an action with written or verbal directions but without a visual model or direct observation.  The action may be performed crudely or without neuromuscular coordination at this stage.  Notice that the action verbs are the same as those for the imitation stage.  The difference is that these actions are performed with the aid of written and verbal instruction, not visual demonstration.

Align                      Place
Balance                  Repeat
Follow                    Rest (on)
Grasp                      Step (here)


The learner observes and then imitates an action.  These behaviors may be crude and imperfect.  The expectation that the individual is able to watch and then repeat an action.

Align                      Place
Balance                  Repeat
Follow                    Rest (on)
Grasp                      Step (here)