Attitude Change – The Affective Domain: Part 1

attitude change, affective domainThis is the first of my blogs under the topic, StudyGuide Lines. In these short blogs, I hope to offer helpful tips to Christian teachers and writers who want to know more about designing instructional material.

Is Attitude Change the goal of your instruction?

If you intend your instruction to be a vehicle through which the Holy Spirit changes attitudes (heart inclinations/beliefs) that affect choices and that eventually come to characterize a person – if attitude change is your goal, then you are operating in what learning theorist and instructional designers, like me, think of as the Affective Domain of learning.

Components of the Affective Domain

The Affective Domain has three basic components that should be included in your instruction. The first component is Knowing How. I will talk about the other two components (Participation and Knowing Why) in later blogs.

Attitude Change Requires “Knowing How”

Learners must understand how to do the thing you want them to choose to do. In Philippians 2:5, Paul states his goal this way: “Make your attitude that of Christ Jesus (HCSB).” We might rewrite that goal as, Learners will choose to act in ways that display genuine Christlike humility.

With this goal in mind, Paul designed his instruction so that his learners would know what and know how. Paul describes Christ’s humble attitude and the choices Christ made in connection with this attitude (Philippians 2:6-8). But Paul doesn’t just leave learners at the prerequisite, Knowing What, Knowledge Domain level. Paul further specifies and explains the kind of thoughts and behaviors Christians are to engage in. As a result of this knowing how instruction, Philippians 2:3-4; 12-16, his learners know how to think and behave humbly. Because of Paul’s instruction, his learners have a foundation to work from that will inform their choice to make their “attitude that of Christ Jesus.”


To reach his Affective Domain instructional goal, Paul reminded his audience what Christ’s attitude looked like (Knowing What) and how to think and act in a humble, Christlike way (Knowing How).

Application for Instruction

Before learners can choose to engage in a desired action, they must (1) know what the action is and (2) know how to perform the action.

Related Blogs

Attitude Change – The Affective Domain: Part 2

Attitude Change – The Affective Domain: Part 3

Motivational Design: Confidence


Smith, Patricia L., & Ragan, Tillman J., Instructional Design, 3rd ed., (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005), p. 262.

Image by Kolbyg at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed September 10, 2015 from

Scripture Quotations are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.