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Updated: Taxonomy Circles – Visualisations of Educational Domains

[See Pages for Educational Taxonomies]

Since October 17th 2012 [see updates] when I shared the most recent work on visualising taxonomies in a circular form and aligning these active verb patterns to particular assessment forms, I have had some great feedback - for which thank you. As a consequence, I have made a few clarifications which I hope will help those of you who want to use these visualisations in your conversations with peers or in academic educational development sessions. The biggest change has been to 'turn' the circles through 72' clockwise so that the vertical denotes a "12-noon" start. I hesitate about this because it perhaps over stresses our obsession which mechanical process which isn't my intention, but many said they would prefer this and so here it is. The second change has been to review, in the light of my own use, and some literature sources (noted on the images themselves) some of the active verbs and evidence.

I am very grateful for the feedback and hope to receive more. In answer to the question about citing this work; there is a journal article and a book chapter in the works, in the meantime please feel free to cite the blog posts. Or indeed personal correspondence at if you would like to share how these may be working for you in practice.

Click on the images to get a decent quality print version - please email if you would like the original PowerPoint slide to amend and modify.

Cognitive Domain - Circle - Taxonomy - Version 4 - November 2012 (Intellectual Skills)

Cognitive Domain - Taxonomy Circle

Affective  Domain - Circle - Taxonomy - Version 4 - November 2012 (Professional and Personal Skills)

Affective Domain - Taxonomy Circle

Psychomotor Domain - Circle - Taxonomy - Version 4 - November 2012 (Transferable Skills)

Psychomotor Domain - Taxonomy Circle - after Dave (1969/71)

Knowledge Domain - Circle - Taxonomy - Version 2 - November 2012 (Subject/Discipline Skills)

This representation is perhaps the most 'controversial' as it represents the 'knowledge dimension' articulated by Anderson and colleagues as a separate domain. For the purposes of working with subject-centric academics within their disciplines as they write intended learning outcomes and assessment, I have found this a useful and sensible thing to do. I have separated out the notion of 'contextual knowledge' which is also not going to please everyone.

Knowledge Domain - Taxonomy Circle

I hope these representations are of some use to you in your practice. Simon (13 Nov 2012)

2 thoughts on “Updated: Taxonomy Circles – Visualisations of Educational Domains

  1. Andrew

    You've drawn together several strands nicely.

    One thing that puzzles me after a quick glance at the cognitive domain pic is the presence of 'Commercial' in the product/evidence area of the 'analyze' sector.
    Can you clarify please?


    1. Simon Paul Atkinson

      Hi Andrew, nice to hear from you. You pick up on an interesting point. The short answer is that I have used the word 'commercial' here in the sense of 'a commercial' or 'an advert', a piece of publicity. I was suggesting that producing a responsable piece of advertising that perhaps differentiated a product from its competitors in a specialist trade journal for example might be an appropriate element of assessment evidence. But, your question does point to the rather wider point which is that these visualizations of the domains are not intended as highly authoritative taxonomies but rather as instruments in course development, as the basis for discussion and debate within course teams. I have included lots of items suggested to me over the last 18 months of using them in this way and as a consequence UK, New Zealand and North American language is represented. An institution wanting to use them 'in-house' might develop a more refined taxonomy, and perhaps an associated glossary? Hope that answers the question. Thanks for the feedback, I'm going to change that to 'advert'! Simon


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