knowledge - Definition | Types of Knowledge | Importance

From the time you wake up to sleep, you apply knowledge to your life. You either gain, give or use the knowledge you have.



From the time you wake up to sleep, you apply knowledge to your life. You either gain, give, or use the knowledge you have. It's not only knowledge you have, also something new you learn that day. If you are superb at something, you also share it with someone. You may not use all the knowledge practically in your life. Still, having some knowledge be useful when needed. For that, you need some knowledge in knowledge, keep reading.

What is knowledge?

You know when one learns something, always ask how to define it. But unfortunately, there is no universally accepted definition of knowledge. When one defines, the other try to understand it better and give a different definition of knowledge. So I too cannot define it for you. If I do one who read this will give a completely different definition of knowledge. 

love to learn

To overcome such a scenario, I came up with a few definitions of knowledge by some famous people. Here are they by:

  • Knowledge is experience. Everything else is just information.
  • Knowledge is what I know, information is what we know.
  • Knowledge originates and resides in people’s minds.
  • Knowledge is organised information in people’s heads
  • Knowledge is the meaningful links people make in their minds between information and its application in action in a specific setting.
  • Knowledge is the accumulation of everything an organisation knows and uses in the carrying out of its business.
  • Knowledge is information in action.
  • Knowledge is ‘information given meaning and integrated with other contents of understanding.

Types of knowledge

Well everyone has knowledge of their own in few things. By characteristics such as how they acquired, used, shared and preserved they classified to some types of knowledge. And yes this classification has also been changing with time. Many classified the types of knowledge and really messed things up on the internet. When I was researching this I found at least a dozen of those types. So I am not going to cover everything in detail. I will discuss some major types.

Prior Knowledge

Priori knowledge is knowledge you already have with no experience or interaction with something. Suppose you have been to a zoo or on a safari, The animals found are wild which means you have no previous experience with them. But still, you can identify which one is elephant, giraffe or tiger. Where you got that knowledge from? Mostly one can identify those without previous experience with them. As we heard of them in our school books. You actually don't know how big an elephant is actually but can identify it by its trunk and its tusks.

nothing endures but changes

The prior knowledge is acquired in many ways without actually experiencing them. It can be acquired by your teacher, family and friends or by people who have already experienced them. And the prior knowledge is not limited. You may know what is the lifespan of elephants if you want from the same teacher. So I say you can get a complete knowledge of anything without even experiencing it.

Posteriori Knowledge

Posteriori knowledge is quite opposite of Priori knowledge, as it needs to experience something to has knowledge in it. Going with the same example. You have seen the other animals there in which you have no prior knowledge. You'll know how a wolf looks like and how is it different from the foxes and dogs. Now you'll have complete knowledge of elephants than before. 

And another example, you are familiar with maths at least in high school. There to calculate the area of a rectangle, you multiply its length and breadth. How you know that? It can only be known when your teacher taught about it. 

Hey, got a doubt about how Posteriori knowledge is different from Priori knowledge? In the second example, you are learning to calculate the area. Before that, you have prior knowledge of length and breadth. And in future when you learn about volume, it needs prior knowledge of the area to get a posterior knowledge of volumes. 

wikipedia example of explicit knowledge

Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is a preserved knowledge in certain media. You have books, a great source of knowledge. Not only these the modern internet is the ultimate source of knowledge. These can be shared easily with others. It's an example-time to understand better.

You are writing an article about ancient civilisation. Moreover, you have zero knowledge of it. So you went on the internet searching about ancient civilisation. You refer to more than a dozen articles available there. If possible the videos regarding that topic and some artworks of that time describing ancient civilisation. And ancient civilisation may not start in your home town where you speak your native language. So you need to decode the data encoded in other languages of civilisation,s origin.

In the above example, you just mined the explicit knowledge available out there to use. Now you can understand better. The knowledge available in form of books, guides, manuals, videos, audio clips, images, paintings, 3D models, sculptures, etc... is explicit. 

one learning bicycle and other teaching bicycle

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is quite opposite of explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is almost impossible to share with others. It is acquired by your personal experience. Have you ever ride a bicycle? I will continue example even you ride or not. If you ride a bicycle you know how hard it is to teach someone to ride it. And it is the same if you are learning it from one who learnt to ride a bicycle. And most has no idea how they acquired that knowledge as they are practising that for such a long period.

Tacit knowledge seems to be simple to acquire from other or any other source. But it still difficult to learn as it completely based on your personal engagement with that particular thing. You know that the CEO( Chief Executive officers) of any company is paid the most. That's because he has a certain talent which is not at other employees. Why most company founders don't acquire those. It's the tacit knowledge of the CEO which is difficult to share with others.

explore the unknown

Known Unknowns

This type of knowledge is a bit confusing. When you are in your class and following your lecture of your teacher. It's quite common to get distracted. So you know that you missed something on that particular topic. As you know that you missed, you'll manage to learn that in any way. Don't forget that you are actually acquiring knowledge from your teacher. In that knowledge you missed something and you know that you missed it. 

This type of knowledge falls under known unknowns. As you know that, you are unaware of things, which is known to your teacher but not you. All the subjects you have not chosen to learn about, are known unknowns. 

If you are still confusing, let me elaborate. By the word "known unknowns" itself they are known to someone but not known by you. Hope you got it.

Nothing known

Unknown Unknowns

Unknown unknowns are quite opposite of known unknowns. These are neither known by you nor others. They are out of your and my imagination and also of the greatest minds. But in future, some knowledge that falls under unknown unknowns can transfer to known unknowns.

Why is it important to have knowledge?

When you born you have zero knowledge of things. Your parents take care of you until you are able to do simple tasks and able to learn. When you reach a certain stage where you learn things around you and remember them. Why you remember things? It's because you are building the treasure of knowledge to use in future. 

Man jumps in happiness

The knowledge you acquired is used to solve complex problems, get out of a critical situation, manage your expenses, etc... But having knowledge in more than a few can really help when you need it. 

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About the Author

A computer geek, love to experiment with technology around. Reading books, surfing internet and blogging are some of my hobbies. Simply Open to new things...

1 comment

  1. It's amazing 🤩 to see all at one... keep going..
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