Concept of knowledge

What is knowledge? How would you define it?

Information and knowledge are growing at a far more rapidly pace than ever before in the history of humankind. Herbert Simon wisely stated that the meaning of knowing has shifted from being able to remember and repeat information to being able to find and use it (Simon, 1996).

”More than ever, the sheer magnitude of human knowledge renders its coverage by education an impossibility; rather, the goal of education is better conceived as helping students develop the intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire the knowledge that allows people to think productively”. Bransford, J. D. 2000.

For you to ponder

What is static and dynamic knowledge? How is it manifested in education? What is tacit knowledge?

Now complete the task below

Think of some keywords, metaphors or sayings to describe the following. Try to find at least 3 in each.

  1. How has understanding of a learner changed?
    for example ‘Better safe than sorry’
  2. How has understanding of knowledge changed?
    for example ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’
  3. How has understanding of learning changed?
    for example ‘A little learning is a dangerous thing’
  4. How has understanding of good teaching changed?
    for example ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’

What does this mean to you? What does it tell you about learning?

Further reading and other resources

  • Bransford, John D.(Editor). How People Learn : Brain, Mind, Experience and School (Expanded Edition).
    Washington, DC, USA: National Academies Press, 2000. p 5.
  • Castells, M. and Himanen, P. 2002. The Information Society and the Welfare State: The Finnish Model. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Novak, J.D. 1998. Learning, Creating and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps as Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Michael Polanyi and Tacit Knowledge
    Michael Polanyi helped to deepen our appreciation of the contribution of ’tacit knowing’ to the generation of new understandings and social and scientific discovery.