Feelings and emotions belong to a realm different than that of rational thoughts. In fact, the part of our brain responsible for making us feel or experience emotions is the amygdala, which helps us process threats and feel good about being rewarded. The rational thought comes from the prefrontal cortex. (You can read about the brain and its functions here.)

Most of the Instructional Design is geared toward handling cognitive learning and for good reason. Most of the learning has traditionally been confined to the cognitive domain (and has been focused on Bloom’s Taxonomy.) The affective domain has only recently begun to make its presence felt, especially in the corporate training domain.

In 1964, David Krathwohl, Benjamin Bloom, and B.B. Masia explained the affective domain taxonomy, which is now popularly known as Krathwohl’s taxonomy, in their book, Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II: Affective domain. New York: David McKay Co.

Following are the five levels that a learner experiences as he or she learns to change an attitude, value, or belief.

  • Responding: According to this taxonomy, the first step toward changing one’s attitude, values, beliefs is “Receiving” or becoming aware of an idea that opposes the attitude, value, belief that should be changed. This is achieved by opening up to the new idea by listening to or reading up on it.
  • Receiving: The second step is to respond to the new idea. For instance, one might begin by talking about the new idea, trying to follow a new structure (even though not very willingly,) spend time upon doing something that brings one closer to accepting the new idea.
  • Valuing: The third step is to begin placing a value on the new idea, which means, one may start becoming a proponent of the new idea and in an argument or a debate speak in support of the new idea.
  • Reorganizing Values: Once the new idea starts taking root, the next step is to reorganize one’s existing attitude, value or belief to help the new idea settle in. This is done by examining the relationships between the existing ideas and the new ideas and strike a balance between/among them.
  • Creating a new Value System: This is the final step, which results in internalization of the new attitude, value, or belief. At this point, one becomes a keen proponent, even an advocate of the new idea.
Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom, B.S., and Masia, B.B. (1964). Taxonomy of educational objectives: Handbook II: Affective domain. New York: David McKay Co. Seels and Glasgow (1990). Exercises in instructional design. Columbus OH: Merrill Publishing Company.

About the Inverted Pyramid Structure:

Note: In the image, you see an inverse pyramid structure (instead of the upright pyramid usually seen.) In the pyramid representation, the volume or area (in case of a 2D image, is used to denote a property that increases or decreases. I believe that if we take the quantum of affective learning as this property then an inverted pyramid structure helps convey the thought better.