This domain is characterized by progressive levels of behaviors from observation to mastery of a physical skill. Several different taxonomies exist.
Simpson (1972) built this taxonomy on the work of Bloom and others:
- Perception - Sensory cues guide motor activity.
- Set - Mental, physical, and emotional dispositions that make one respond in a certain way to a situation.
- Guided Response - First attempts at a physical skill. Trial and error coupled with practice lead to better performance.
- Mechanism - The intermediate stage in learning a physical skill. Responses are habitual with a medium level of assurance and proficiency.
- Complex Overt Response - Complex movements are possible with a minimum of wasted effort and a high level of assurance they will be successful.
- Adaptation - Movements can be modified for special situations.
- Origination - New movements can be created for special situations.
Dave (1970) developed this taxonomy:
- Imitation - Observing and copying someone else.
- Manipulation - Guided via instruction to perform a skill.
- Precision - Accuracy, proportion and exactness exist in the skill performance without the presence of the original source.
- Articulation - Two or more skills combined, sequenced, and performed consistently.
- Naturalization - Two or more skills combined, sequenced, and performed consistently and with ease. The performance is automatic with little physical or mental exertion.
Harrow (1972) developed this taxonomy. It is organized according to the degree of coordination including involuntary responses and learned capabilities:
- Reflex movements - Automatic reactions.
- Basic fundamental movement - Simple movements that can build to more complex sets of movements.
- Perceptual - Environmental cues that allow one to adjust movements.
- Physical activities - Things requiring endurance, strength, vigor, and agility.
- Skilled movements - Activities where a level of efficiency is achieved.
The following table is a synthesis of the above taxonomies:
Psychomotor Domain Hierarchy
||Active mental attending of a physical event.
||The learner watches a more experienced person. Other mental activity, such as reading may be a part of the observation process.
||Attempted copying of a physical behavior.
||The second step in learning a psychomotor skill. The learner is observed and given direction and feedback on performance. Movement is not automatic or smooth.
||Trying a specific physical skill over and over.
||The skill is repeated over and over. The entire sequence is performed repeatedly. Movement is moving towards becoming automatic and smooth.
||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 situation.
Here are key verbs for each level you can use when writing psychomotor objectives:
- differentiate (by touch)
- perform (skillfully)
Dave, R.H., in R. J. Armstrong et al., Developing and Writing Behavioral Objectives (Tucson, AZ: Educational Innovators Press, 1970).
Harrow, A.J. (1972). A taxonomy of the psychomotor domain. New York: David McKay Co.
Simpson, E. (1972). The classification of educational objectives in the psychomotor domain: The psychomotor domain. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Gryphon House.