The taxonomy of knowledge – Part 2



LAST week our review of literature noted the varying perspectives which anchor categorization of knowledge. We chose to report from the perspective of teaching and learning. Hence, we began by describing the first two structure types of knowledge–starting with factual or declarative knowledge and the second structure type, referred to as conceptual knowledge which could be in the form of theories and models. We shared examples of theories and models of conceptual knowledge.

Herein are more such models after which we shall proceed to describe the third type of knowledge structure, procedural knowledge,and next week, metacognitive knowledge.

Business students and the buying public would be familiar with models of conceptual knowledge such as the multilevel marketing of Avon, Mary Kay and Amway. In this model, friends, family and other personal networks recommend products and act as a sales force. Another model, a model of relationship, is franchise, such as that ofMcDonald’s or Kentucky, which sells the right to use the business model in exchange for a percentage of revenues. < cation/college/examples-of-business-models/>. These days, schools have also adopted the franchise model.

Models can also be about a phenomenon (for example, a model predicting eclipses or typhoons), a structure, a system, or an aspect of the real world. Structure modelsrefer “to the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.” <Error!Hyperlink reference not valid.> Refer to the “waterfall model”–a “sequential (non-iterative) design process in software engineering such as in software development processes,” “in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production/implementation and maintenance.” It illustrates “the stages of development that follow each other in a certain order. And after each stage there is no going back to change something or fix. All the requirements must be defined initially.”
<>Like any model, it could not be perfect. Models do change; we fail to totally grasp reality at any one time.

A third structure of knowledge is procedural knowledge. In the context of formal education, procedural knowledgeis what we learn about learning strategies–“how to do something; methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, algorithms, techniques, and methods.” It can be the “tasks specific rules, skills, actions, and sequences of actions employed to reach goals” our students use in their coursework. (Cauley, 1986).< procedural_knowledge>.Methods of inquiry, as in research, could be qualitative or quantitative or a combination of both. A method is a particular form, an established procedure or prescribed and systematic and logical practice characteristic of a particular discipline or field of knowledge for accomplishing or approaching something to achieve certain ends with accuracy and efficiency.< method><>.

An example of knowing “subject-specific techniques and methods and criteria for determining when to use appropriate procedures,” is using the “random sampling technique” in research or the “interactive method” in teaching when the situation calls for such method or technique. An algorithmis a procedure, a set of rulesor steps in conducting a sequence of specified actions to solve a problem. < › Topics › Computer Science › Mathematics>. In doing a specific task, one employs a technique, that is, “the manner in which technical details are treated (as by a writer) or basic physical movements are used (as by a dancer); or such movements (as in using good piano technique.)”

In the field of applied science such as in pharmaceutical chemistry, one experimentcould be on membrane transport. In this case, students have to follow certain steps to homogenize a given mixture (for example, a freshly excised, blood-free chicken liver with 0.25 M sucrose solution) using a specific method such as differential centrifugation. Note that when students are taught to undergo such complex tasks, the earlier structures and types of knowledge should have been experienced and learned by the students to prepare them to do accuratelythe procedures that they are assigned to undertake.Prepared means the students are familiar with terminologies as used in pharmaceutical biochemistry. Hence, assume they have factual and conceptualknowledge of terminologiessuch ascells,homogenize, mixture, freshly excised, measurement of solutions, sucrose, differential centrifugation, etc.Performing a procedure such as thisexample assumes that conceptual knowledge about cells and related principles in biochemistry provided them a store of knowledge ofwhat the specific details and elements of cells are, what cells are made up of,the characteristics and properties of cells and attendant conceptual knowledge on cells, and cell behavior, etc. In addition, they have to have a working knowledge of the transport action of matter (as a prepared mixture)related to centrifugation. Obviously, students would have great difficulty when instruction jumps non-sequentially from one level of knowledge to another.

This is similarly true in teaching calculus to the senior 11 students. It is assumed that students have the necessary background knowledge–the declarative and conceptualknowledge in analytic geometry, computational notation, mathematical induction and trigonometry. One also assumes that previous instruction in these branches of mathematics have been well sequenced as to the structure of knowledge so that these senior 11 students are well-equipped to learn procedural knowledge in the pre-calculus subject. A teaching guide on pre-calculus is provided by DepEd at <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.>Ourexamples stress the obvious need to sequence the structure and types of knowledge to facilitate learning of our students; make genuine learning possible in an enjoyable manner. Metacognitive knowledge will be lastof this series.

The author, one of the country’s most accomplished educators and institutional management experts, held top academic positions at Xavier University (the Ateneo de Cagayan) before heading chartered institutions. After attending universities in the Philippines, she studied in Germany, Great Britain and Japan. An internationalization consultant on call, she is copy editor of the Liceo journals and professorial lecturer at the Graduate Studies of Liceo de Cagayan University. Awards include a Lifetime Professional Achievement Award from the Commission on Higher Education and recently, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland).


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