In 1965, educational theorist Benjamin Bloom published "Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals." Bloom identified three domains of learning: the cognitive, affective and psychomotor. The cognitive domain includes learning objectives such as knowledge, analysis and comprehension. Objectives of the psychomotor domain include muscle coordination and body control. Objectives of the affective domain are more difficult to classify.


One objective for the affective domain is for the student to be able to pay attention to certain stimuli. Students must be able to tolerate and develop interest in the subject matter. They must know how to actively engage course material. The affective domain includes student motivation and the set of emotions students feel regarding the learning experience. Students must be able to experience positive emotions as they pay attention to course material.


Consistency of character and care in ethical matters are also objectives for the affective domain of learning. When people learn new information about themselves or their surroundings, it must impact the way that they interact with that environment. For example, learning that a company engages in unethical practices often motivates a person to stop patronizing the company. Integrity, as a learning objective for the affective domain, refers to an individual's ability to make choices that are morally consistent with his knowledge of the world.


The ability to understand and appreciate another individual's ethical, social and personal choices is a major objective for the affective domain of learning. For this reason, instructors who emphasize the affective domain include activities where students interact with those of different ethnic, religious and national origins. This exposure helps increase a student's ability to empathize with those who are different from her. Empathy also engages the imaginative faculties, and thus includes both cognitive and affective processes.


Students must appreciate the value of their learning -- that's what teachers want. Instructors of the arts and sciences encourage students to examine the beauty of the subject matter, and the way in which increased knowledge of the subject matter can positively benefit their lives. The ability to appreciate what a person is learning is an objective of the affective domain. Though teachers tend to emphasize cognitive processes of learning, affective processes are important to learning as well as to proper social and personal development.

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