Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

What I want to say about this post is that the information is correct but the language is all wrong. Nancy Dixon writes about the long-known distinction between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Here, I would want to call them public knowledge and personal knowledge respectively. These are, for Dixon, "the tangible information such as written documents or computer programs and intangible information embodied in human memory." I wouldn't use the word 'information' here. She says "Our tacit knowledge is made up of many bits and pieces located in different places in our brain." True - but not 'located', like lego blocks, but distributed, like a web. And not really bits and pieces, but interwoven strands and patterns, all connected to each other. That's why we can't 'transfer' tacit knowledge; we can only model and demonstrate it, helping the observer develop their own tacit knowledge in response to the 'public knowledge' - spoken language and documents and programs - that we create in a public space.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 04, 2022 11:00 a.m.