Learning Concept Map
Learning Concept Map

Learning Essays:

Learning: Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes (KSA)

KSA are the abilities and characteristics that enable a job holder to accomplish the activities described in a task statement that describes what the job holder does (Quinones, Ehrenstein, 1997).

In a learning environment, cognitive, psychomotor, & affective are KSA's counterparts that identify end states of training (objectives).

Learning Outcome Typology (Kraiger, et al., 1993)

  1. Cognitive (knowledge)
    • Verbal Knowledge - factual and declarative knowledge (propositional knowledge) knowledge
    • Knowledge Organization - how information and concepts are mentally arranged
    • Metacognitive Strategies - allocation and regulation of cognitive resources
  2. Skill-Based (psychomotor)
    • Compilation - routine development and procedure linkage
    • Automaticity - ability to perform a task without Conscious monitoring and with other tasks
  3. Affective (attitudes)
    • Attitude - attitude about learning, self-efficacy, perception about ability to perform, and goal setting
    • Motivation - motivational disposition

Next Steps

For more detail on the above typology, see Learning Outcomes.

What does the A in KSA really mean — Attitudes or Abilities?


Kraiger, K., Ford, J., Salas, E. (1993). Application of cognitive, skill-based, and affective theories of learning outcomes to new methods of training evaluation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 311-328.

Quinones, M.A. and Ehrenstein, A. (1997). Training for a Rapidly Changing Workplace: Applications of Psychological Research. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, p. 154.