Skip to content

Psychomotor Domain

Taxonomies Home

Cognitive Affective Psychomotor Metacognitive Interpersonal
Intellectual Values Manual Orientation Communications

psychomotor domain

My circular representation of the psychomotor domain of educational 'objectives' is based on a taxonomy articulated by Ravindra H. Dave  (1969/71). An explanation of why I have chosen to use the circular design and to use 'active' verbs is on the main taxonomy page.

I have chosen to use active verbs to describe the subcategories of the domain and so there is a clear change from:

Dave's Original  Atkinson's Adaptation  Descriptor
Imitation Imitate ability to copy, replicate the actions of others following observations.
 Manipulation  Manipulate ability to repeat or reproduce actions to prescribed standard from memory or instructions.
Precision  Perfect ability to perform actions with expertise and without interventions and the ability to demonstrate and explain actions to others.
Articulation  Articulate ability to adapt existing psychomotor skills in a non-standard way, in different contexts, using alternative tools and instruments to satisfy need.
 Naturalisation  Embody ability to perform actions in an automatic, intuitive or unconscious way appropriate to the context.

This is to articulate more clearly the need to describe learning outcomes as things that the students will actually 'do' in line with the principles of constructively aligned learning and teaching design.

A less obvious change is that I have chosen to expand the definition of psychomotor activity to incorporate a wider range of physical activities that perhaps Dave had envisaged, particularly those involved with the manipulation of computer software, laboratory and fieldwork equipment and a range of technical equipment. I feel this to be necessary because I have seen so many University courses make light of the skills developed in acquiring such expertise, as though such skills are incidental when clearly it is the primary outcome valued by most students and employers.

For example, the specifics of the volume of water flowing through the Mississippi delta in November (Knowledge) will prove less useful than the ability to master the GIS and computational software used to document those specifics (Psychomotor).

I believe that the much of what in the further and higher context is described as 'transferable skills' fall into the psychomotor domain, alongside the interpersonal domain, and are worthy of careful attention.

Dave, R. H. (1967). Psychomotor domain. Presented at the International Conference of Educational Testing, Berlin.
%d bloggers like this: