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3.2 Knowledge Types

There are many different terminologies to differentiate between types of knowledge. Anderson et al. [17] identify in their taxonomy of learning outcomes four major categories of knowledge relevant across all disciplines:

1. Factual knowledge,

2. Conceptual knowledge,

3. Procedural knowledge and

4. Metacognitive knowledge.

Factual knowledge consists of the basic elements. It includes knowledge of specific facts and terminology (bits of information). Conceptual knowledge refers to more general concepts and is based on the interrelation of basic elements within a larger structure that enable them to function together. It includes knowledge of categories, principles and models. [17]

Both, factual and conceptual knowledge constitute knowledge of what. The two other types procedural and metacognitive knowledge constitute knowledge of "how to" [18]. Procedural knowledge ranges from completing routine exercises to solve new problems and includes methods of enquiring information, knowing procedures and criteria for using skills, algorithms, techniques and methods. Metacognitive knowledge implies knowledge of cognition in general as well as awareness and knowledge of ones own cognition" [17]. It includes knowledge of general strategies, that might be used for different tasks, within diverse conditions, and the knowledge of the extent to which the strategies are effective [19]. From Anderson's [17] perspective all these types of knowledge play complementary roles in processes of problem solving. A further definition in this context is the work process knowledge. It describes a type of knowledge that guides practical work and, as contextualized knowledge, goes far beyond non-contextual theoretical knowledge. [cf. Eraut et al., 1998 at [15]] A characteristic of practical work process knowledge is the mastery of unpredictable work tasks, fundamentally incomplete knowledge (knowledge gap) in relation to nontransparent, non-deterministic work situations. This is a special feature of vocational work. Meta-competence can be created, namely the ability to cope with the knowledge gap while solving unpredictable tasks and problems in vocational work [15].

3.3 Learning Objectives

A learning objective describes intended behavior as well as special knowledge, skills and attitudes of the learner, which are caused by educational activities. The newly developed behavior has to be observable and verifiable. Learning objectives refer to three domains: cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitude or self) and psychomotoric (skills).

In 1956 Benjamin Bloom created the taxonomy of learning domains, a classification system for learning objectives in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education. The cognitive domain includes knowledge and the development of intellectual abilities. [20]

Bloom`s taxonomy involves six major categories, which are demonstrated in the following illustration, ranging from the simplest behavior to the most complex one:

Fig. 2. Allocation of Blooms learning taxonomy to the main learning theories

The application of the learning taxonomy itself does not ensure the didactical implementation. First of all it describes the cognitive process of gaining knowledge.

Together with the existing knowledge about learning theories and the analysis of learning environments the taxonomy is essential for a professional didactical design of technology based learning environments. [21] The following section describes the characteristics of the learning theories behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism and their relation to Blooms taxonomy.

Behaviorism. Behaviorist-oriented forms of learning are suitable for simple learning processes that trigger a stimulus-response connection, which leads to permanent change in behavior. [22] This learning theory can be assigned to the lower levels of Blooms learning taxonomy, e.g. for learning facts or hand grips.

Table 1. Behaviorism Pros and Restrictions

Cognitivism. The cognitive approach focuses on the mental processing of information to knowledge. Every learning process is an active construction of knowledge.

The interaction between external information supply and the mental processes of recognition requires the learner to incorporate prior knowledge with new one. [23]

Table 2. Cognitivism Pros and Restrictions

Constructivism. Constructivism is an epistemology founded on the assumption that, by reflecting our experiences, we construct an individual understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates own "rules" and "mental models," which are used to make sense of ones experiences. In essence, a constructive learning environment provides real-world or problem-based learning situations that are focused on authentic learning [24]. The theory of situated learning is a partial aspect of constructivism; it claims that every idea and human action is a generalization, adapted to the ongoing environment. From this perspective learning situations are characterized by complex, multi-perspective and problem-containing requirements.

Table 3. Constructivism Pros and Restrictions

 
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