20 Types of Knowledge

Feb 08, 2023

Human beings have wanted to systematically manage knowledge resources in order to increase their efficiency and thus be able to make better decisions.

Among the best known are:

1. Explicit

Explicit knowledge is knowledge that can be verbalised, stored, consulted and shared with others.

It is usually written down in the form of documents, reports, memos and other forms of written communication. This makes explicit knowledge easy to access and share with others.

It can also be used to make decisions and solve problems.

2. Implicit

This is knowledge that cannot be easily expressed in words, but is gained through experience and application.

It can encompass skills, intuition and expertise that are acquired through practice and experience.

Examples of implicit knowledge are the ability to play a piano, speak a certain language or drive a car.

3. Tacit

This is knowledge that is not explicitly expressed, but has been acquired through experience.

It is sometimes difficult to express in words and can include skills, perceptions, intuitions and opinions that a person has gained through living life and learning through experience.

Three classic examples are: 1) technical knowledge, 2) the ability to solve problems, 3) the understanding of complex systems.

4. Procedural

This is the knowledge of how to do something or the steps to follow to perform a certain task.

It is acquired through experience or practice, and usually involves the acquisition of skills and techniques; therefore it may be difficult to teach or transfer to another person.

Examples: 1) driving a vehicle, 2) playing a musical instrument, 3) using a computer keyboard without seeing the keyboard.

5. Declarative

Knowledge about facts, information and concepts that can be explicitly stated or expressed.

Declarative knowledge can be acquired through direct training, reading or experience.

It consists of stating that something is true, such as knowing that Paris is the capital of France or that in a perfect circle, the radius is half the diameter.

6. A Priori or Innate

This is knowledge independent of any particular experience, and can be obtained prior to or independently of any experience. This type of knowledge is assumed to be true without the need for experimental verification.

Examples of a priori knowledge are mathematics, tautologies and the deduction of pure logic.

7. A Posteriori or Empirical

This is knowledge that can only be obtained through experience of the world around us.

An example is the proposition "the sky is light blue on a sunny day" is a posteriori knowledge, as it can only be verified by observation of what is required to be verified.

8. Dispersed

Here the knowledge or information on a given subject is fragmented among many sources, none of them possessing official knowledge.

The dispersion of knowledge also influences individual opinions and perceptions, implying that different people know different things.

Three practical examples:

1) In economics, where no one person possesses all the information about all the elements that influence prices and demand in the economy.

2) In politics, the dispersion of knowledge can make it difficult for a democratic community to make decisions, as each individual possesses a different set of knowledge.

3) In the workplace, where knowledge about a given problem is distributed among members of different departments.

9. Domain or Expert

This is a specialised understanding of a particular discipline, field or activity and encompasses the knowledge and skills needed to understand and apply the principles, concepts and techniques related to the domain.

This type of knowledge can help us understand how our data is collected and thus the appropriate methods for pre-processing it.

As a result, data scientists are better equipped to address data challenges and propose better solutions.

10. Analytical

It is the one that is known through the analysis of the different definitions of the words that compose it.

It is often interpreted as certain and some of its forms are usually considered a priori, i.e. known independently of any experience.

Examples of analytical knowledge are mathematical truths and logical statements.

This knowledge is contrasted with synthetic knowledge.

11. Synthetic

This is knowledge that is determined by observations, experiments and other forms of empirical investigation. Synthetic knowledge is often associated with the scientific method, where hypotheses are tested and confirmed through experiments and data collection.

It is also used in areas such as engineering, where the application of principles and theories to practical problems is necessary.

12. Experiential

Experiential knowledge is knowledge acquired through experience; it is based on understanding and expertise that arises from life experience rather than formal education or professional training.

It is also a key part of the learning process, as it enables students to acquire knowledge through participation in practical experience and reflection. In the Christian field, this kind of knowledge is necessary to truly know and understand Christ.

13. Codified

This is knowledge that has been formally documented, structured and organised so that it can be easily shared and understood.

We see it reflected in books, manuals, reports, memos and other written forms.

Unlike tacit knowledge, which is difficult to express or communicate, codified knowledge is straightforward and can be easily shared among people.

Examples of codified knowledge are laws, regulations, policies, procedures and guidelines.

14. Social

This is the understanding of reality and the world, as well as cultural knowledge of social behaviours and situational contexts.

The elements that make up this type of knowledge are:

  • Common sense
  • Psychology
  • The body of knowledge generated by a given community
  • The roles that people play in a society

Social knowledge is arbitrary and can only be known if it is told or demonstrated by other people.

15. Emotional

The ability to recognise, understand and use emotions. It is the ability of an individual to be aware of his or her own emotions, to understand the emotions of others and to use this knowledge to manage interpersonal relationships effectively.

16. Semantic

A type of long-term memory that consists of remembering ideas, concepts and facts that are normally considered general knowledge.

It includes meanings of words, concepts, facts and other related information that is not linked to any specific object, event, domain or application.

Semantic knowledge is essential for understanding language and communicating effectively.

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17. Scientific

A body of knowledge acquired through scientific research and experimentation.

It is a set of facts and theories about the natural world that are based on evidence and constantly evolving as new discoveries are made.

It includes a wide range of scientific disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, physics and astronomy.

Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and advance our understanding of the universe.

18. Philosophical

The systematic study of general and fundamental questions concerning the nature of existence, reality, reason, knowledge, values, mind and language.

It seeks to understand the nature of knowledge and how it can be acquired and applied in various contexts.

Philosophical knowledge can be acquired through enquiry, reflection and disciplined study, and often requires consideration of the implications of various theories, ideas and perspectives.

It is an interdisciplinary field, drawing on elements from diverse disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, sociology and history.

19. Private

Information that is owned and managed by an individual or organisation. It is not shared publicly and is often considered confidential.

Private knowledge may include intellectual property, trade secrets and other proprietary information.

In some cases, private knowledge may be protected by laws such as copyright, patent and trade secret laws, or by contractual agreements.

20. Metacognitive

Metacognitive knowledge is an individual's knowledge of different strategies, how to use them, and when and why to use them.

This type of knowledge helps people to plan and execute learning tasks, such as problem solving and studying for exams.

It includes knowing the purpose of the task, the best approaches to take and the processes involved.

Metacognitive knowledge also includes the ability to self-monitor and self-regulate one's own learning, so that learners can adjust their approaches to the specific task and environment.

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