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Downes & Huffington Post

Congratulations to Stephen Downes on his new (additional) role as a contributor to Huffington Post. This is a good opportunity for Stephen to share some of his innovative work in open courses…and, of course, a good opportunity for Huffington to engage with a prominent philosopher/thinker/theorist in learning and knowledge (especially now that learning has moved into broad public discourse in the US as schools and universities deal with budget cuts, calls for greater productivity/accountability, etc). A list of Stephen’s recent articles in HP is available here. I want to draw attention to one in particular: Two Kinds of Knowledge. With our work in connectivism, we keep encountering a key concept that we haven’t sufficiently addressed: what is the relationship between an individuals knowledge and the knowledge that comprises a domain. For example, if I want to be a psychologist, my designation is determined by how my knowledge relates to what has been defined as the domain of knowledge. As Stephen states: “It’s a bit of an overgeneralization, but we can get at many of the issues here by distinguishing between two kinds of knowledge: one that is personal, internal to ourselves, and is, shall we say, ‘knowledge-in-the-brain’, and the other that is public or social, external to ourselves, and is, shall we say, ‘knowledge-in-the-world’.” This interplay between “what I know” and “what is the knowledge of a domain” is important, primarily because if we can render domain knowledge in an explicit format, we can improve matching between learner activity and learner competence. In fact, evaluation can largely fall to the wayside as the matching process can occur behind the scenes as we better analyze learner knowledge through learning analytics.