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Domains of Learning







Problem Solving






After determining the purpose of your course in the context of its program and reflecting on how your course might prepare learners for professional life after completing the program, the next step in building a vision is to lay out the goals and outcomes. To think about outcomes, it is important to familiarize yourself with the three domains of learning: Cognitive Domain (Knowledge), Psychomotor Domain (Skills), and Affective Domain (Attitudes). These three domains are often referred to as KSA (knowledge, skills, and attitudes). Understanding the three domains will help you create or identify the competencies for your course, which is the first step in writing outcomes. Read more detailed descriptions of each domain of learning below.

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Knowledge (Cognitive Domain)

Knowledge, or the cognitive domain, is the information base. Course competencies that address the cognitive domain include facts, concepts, important terminology from the field of study, classifications, principles, theories, models, and structures. It is critical that learners have a well-developed knowledge base; so your course competencies should ensure that learners understand the meaning of terminology and have a basic comprehension of classifications, principles, theories, models, and structures necessary to apply those concepts if they do not already have those coming into the course.

The cognitive domain has been the primary focus of most traditional education and is frequently used to structure curriculum competencies, outcomes, assessments, and activities. To construct competencies for knowledge or the cognitive domain, ask yourself “What do I want my graduates to know?” Examples:
Knowledge of contract price and cost analysis/cost accounting techniques so as to compile and evaluate price and/or cost data for a variety of pre-award and/or post-award procurement activities.

Knowledge of state-of the-art radio broadcast systems to be able to perform fault isolation,troubleshooting and repair of the digital and analog broadcast equipment and systems.

Knowledge of transportation regulations, methods, and practices to perform a wide variety of routine and specialized transportation support to include movement of hazardous materials by all modes of transportation

Skills (Psychomotor Domain)

Skills, or the psychomotor domain, includes metacognitive skills to support critical thinking and problem solving techniques. Learners need to be able to use their knowledge to solve problems and perform in real-world settings. Competencies that address the psychomotor domain help learners develop procedural knowledge such as steps, techniques, methods, and algorithms used in the field of practice. Skills are considered to be a higher level type of competency that leads to deep learning.

To construct competencies that address the Skills or Psychomotor domain, ask yourself “What do I want my graduates to physically be able to do?”
Skill in typing at the rate of 40 words per minute with less than 3 errors per 100 words typed.

Skill in operating specialized medical equipment such as cardiac monitor, blood pressure cuff, and CAT scans to obtain accurate results.

Skill in driving a full size automobile,with standard transmission, obeying traffic rules, in urban and rural areas in all types of weather and traffic conditions to deliver courier documents to various locations in the city.

Attitudes (Affective Domain)

Attitudes, or the affective domain, often relates to ethics in the field or valuing different knowledge and skills as they relate to practice. This type of competency helps learners understand how to act using ethics, morals, and values in the professional field. Attitudes can include emotions, feelings, values, and appreciation, to name a few. Personal characteristics are predispositions on the part of an individual to behave in a certain way. Personal characteristics represent what an individual wants to or will do, as opposed to what the individual can do or has the capacity to do.

To constructor competencies that address the Attitudes or Affective Domain, ask yourself “What do I want my graduates to think or care about?”