Psychomotor Domain Taxonomy

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:

Simpson, E. (1972). The classification of educational objectives in the psychomotor domain: The psychomotor domain. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Gryphon House.

Dave (1970) developed this taxonomy:

Based upon R. H. Dave, as reported in R. J. Armstrong et al., Developing and Writing Behavioral Objectives (Tucson, AZ:  Educational Innovators Press, 1970).

Harrow (1972) developed this taxonomy. It is organized according to the degree of coordination including involuntary responses and learned capabilities:

Harrow, A.J. (1972). A taxonomy of the psychomotor domain. New York: David McKay Co.

The following list is a combination of the above taxonomies:

Psychomotor Domain
Level Definition Example
1. Observing Active mental attending of a physical event.


The learner watches a more experienced person.  Other mental activity, such as reading may be a pert of the observation process.
2. Imitating Attempted copying of a physical behavior.
The first steps in learning a skill. The learner is observed and given direction and feedback on performance. Movement is not automatic or smooth.
3. Practicing Trying a specific physical activity over and over.
The skill is repeated over and over. The entire sequence is performed repeatedly.  Movement is moving towards becoming automatic and smooth.
4. Adapting 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.


  • bend
  • calibrates
  • constructs
  • differentiate (by touch)
  • dismantles
  • displays
  • fastens
  • fixes
  • grasp
  • grinds
  • handle
  • heats
  • manipulates
  • measures
  • mends
  • mixes
  • operate
  • organizes
  • perform (skillfully)
  • reach
  • relax
  • shorten
  • sketches
  • stretch
  • write


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