Knowledge : meaning, types and sources (B.Ed. Notes) (UPDATED)

This article is for B.Ed. second-year students and comes under paper “Knowledge and curriculum“. This article consists of following topics

1. Meaning and concept of knowledge

2. Importance of knowledge

3. Characteristics of knowledge

4. Types of Knowledge

5. Sources of knowledge

1. Meaning and concept of knowledge

Knowledge stands for:-

  • facts information and skills acquired by a person through experience or education.
  • theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
  • awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.

The philosopher Plato defined knowledge as

 justified true belief

Let us compare knowledge with wisdom. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and information. Wisdom is a synthesis of knowledge and experiences into insights. Wisdom deepens one’s relationships and the meaning of life. Education is a means of discovering new things which we do not know and hence it increases our knowledge.

So, knowledge is a meaningful structure of facts into some relationships. We can define knowledge as

  • the fact of knowing
  • information or what is already known
  • the whole of what can be learned or found out.

Terms knowledge, information, and wisdom are interrelated to each other. We can further define knowledge as

  • assured belief
  • information
  • enlightenment
  • practical skill and acquaintance.

As used by teachers and educators the term ‘concept of knowledge’ refers to

the information that teacher teach and students are expected to learn in given subject or content area.

Knowledge is related to the facts, concepts, theories, and principles that are taught. It is not related to the skills such as reading, writing or researching that students learn in academic courses.

2. Importance of Knowledge

  • Knowledge is a powerful and important part of life.
  • A famous Sanskrit verse says that ‘ an educated person is honored everywhere’.
  • Knowledge has equipped man with limitless power. With knowledge, man can dominate over beings who are much stronger than him in strength.
  • Knowledge has helped humans and prompted the progress of our civilization.
  • Knowledge accounts for the success of the people. The more knowledgeable you are, the more advantage you have over other people.
  • Power of knowledge should not be used for a destructive purpose.

3. Characteristics of knowledge

  •   Knowledge is like wealth, the more he gets, the more he craves.
  • Knowledge never decays.
  • Knowledge once gained casts a light beyond its own immediate boundaries.
  • Information is the source of knowledge.
  • The word knowledge implies three things – truth, proof, conviction
  • Facts and values are the basis of the structures of knowledge.
  • Knowledge is boundless
  • It exists to be imparted.

Types of Knowledge

In order to build skills, it is important that we know about different types of Knowledge that exists in education. Knowledge is an awareness or familiarity gained by experience of fact or situation. It can be theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. All our knowledge is founded on and is ultimately derived from experience.
There are so much debate and disagreement over the exact list of different types of knowledge, so no such list has ever existed. This is because the concept of knowledge is purely philosophical and everyone has a different opinion about what it is or what it is not.

Different types of knowledge that are based on experience and lack of it are

1. A priori knowledge:-

  • The literal meaning of a priori is from before or from earlier.
  • A priori is the knowledge that is attained independently of experience.
  • It means there are certain assumptions that one can take for granted.
  • This knowledge is non-empirical. (empirical means originating or based on observation or experience)
  • This type of knowledge comes from theoretical reasoning rather than actual observation or personal experience.
  • In practical, apriori describes knowledge that exists without reference to any actual proof or reality.
  • Definition of a priori

    existing in the mind , independent of observation or experience

    Relating to what may be known through an understanding of how certain things work, rather than by observation or experience.

  • Example:
    1. The proposition that all bachelors are unmarried is apriori.
    2. No proposition can be true and false at the same time.
    3. The shortest distance between two points on a Euclidean plane is a straight line.

2. A posteriori

  • A posteriori literally mean from what comes later or from what comes after.
  • It is the knowledge which is gained through experience.
  • A posteriori knowledge depends on experimental;l evidence or warrant.
  • This knowledge is empirical, arrived at afterword.
  • Truths of physics, chemistry, and biology are instances of a posteriori knowledge.
  • A posteriori judgment adds to the knowledge. But the knowledge yielded can sometimes be uncertain or problematic.
  • This kind of knowledge is gained by first having experience and then using logic and reflection to derive understanding from it.
  • It is believed a priori knowledge is more reliable than a posteriori knowledge.
  • In philosophy term, a posteriori is sometimes used interchangeably with empirical knowledge based on observation.

Further readings

(a) Wikipedia contributors, ‘Knowledge’ (last visited May 2, 2018)
(b)Buy Knowledge and curriculum books here

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3 years ago

where is the last topic-source of knowledge?

Reply to  abira
3 years ago

Source of knowledge is missing

3 years ago

its quite useful for teaching my students

asif mahfooz
asif mahfooz
2 years ago

Sources of Knowledge

a. Observation and Experience This may be more or less sophisticated, ranging from a simple, “I saw” to carefully design controlled experimentation.

 b. Reason / Logic Taking other knowledge as data, by logical operations knowledge can be inferred. For example the theoretical construct, the electron, is derived by logical inferences from observations and experiment. Such knowledge, being derivative, cannot be better than the knowledge upon which it is founded. Modeling a situation sometimes allows those with a hands-on viewpoint to learn howto do something. This pragmatic approach is often seen in computer programming.

 c. Testimony  Knowledge based on the acceptance of testimony involves accepting what others say. For example, I only know that Kent is a county of England, that the First World War was horrendous. This seems to be a common way we get knowledge but is seen by philosophers as problematic. See Testimony, philosophical problems of.

 d. Authority  Knowledge based on authority may rely upon the reputation of an individual such as Aristotle or Einstein or perhaps on institutional authority such as that of the Roman Catholic Church or Oxford University. Note that an authority may adopt knowledge upon other criteria such as divine revelation or 10 observation as well as upon authority. Authority may have a political basis in the sense that some political process, perhaps involving status as well as simple voting, peer review, or comment. This is familiar to participants in academia.

e. Revelation Many people believe knowledge may be obtained via revelation or even divine revelation, which may be directly from God or another spirit, perhaps conveyed through a religious text or texts, such as the Bible, although there is no evidence to support this claim

Muhammad Furqan
Muhammad Furqan
Reply to  asif mahfooz
2 years ago

thanks dude

Niksilchi Marak
Niksilchi Marak
Reply to  Muhammad Furqan
1 year ago

Educational implications of knowledge

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