Domains of Knowledge

17 09 2010

I’ve been following various #PLENK2010 discussions    with interest over the course of the week and have been thinking about knowledge and learning. I think that sometimes we get ourselves into a muddle about terms and do not distinguish between different knowledge domains.

This happens in business school education often – you go to school to learn “things”. In finance, you learn number things. In marketing you learn model things and in law you learn legal things.

 That is of course all fine and well but there is more to it than that. A short digression into models may help a little.

 Two models of learning may be useful. Pedler (1974) distinguishes between neuromotor knowledge (manual labour); cognition (I know facts); behaviour (I know about feelings); interpersonal (I can get along) and self knowledge.

 Huczynski (1983) classifies into memory (got the facts); understanding (makes sense but never did anything with it); application (can do it) and transfer (can show others).

 Both definitions obviously have their “I know things” bit. Both also indicate that there is a lot more to it than that – and the additional elements are fiercely useful. People need facts, clearly. They also need to be able to do something with the facts, and need to take other people along and need to get things done and need to explain things to others.

 So, knowledge is necessary but insufficient. It requires a framework to make sense of it. It requires practice to master it. And it requires self knowledge and behavioural skills. Sensemaking is not easy.