Knowledge in 3 Forms: declarative, procedural, and contextual.

knowledgeIn ministering to students it is important to reach them where they are and attempt to articulate and communicate knowledge in different ways.

There are three major ways that all knowledge can be categorized under three domains: declarative, procedural, and contextual:

1. Declarative knowledge is information, including facts, events, concepts, and principles, that the learner needs to know, not what the learner needs to do. Declarative knowledge requires an understanding of component parts.

For example, trying to explain the difficult concepts of the trinity or the atonement requires the foundational understanding of what these theological beliefs are built on: God is co-equal and co-eternal and the divinity and humanity of Christ.  We can attempt to explain but for our students it must go beyond simply declaring information.  This could be written down but is often communicated during sermons.  This is not enough.

2. Procedural knowledge is what the learner is able to do with the information. It includes the skills and processes important to the content area.

For example: After explaining an away of difficult concepts-even some as simple as love, gentleness, or eternal life, procedural knowledge is able to create an opportunity that allows us to interact with an example or develop a methodology of what it may look like if that information got carried into reality.  As we explain difficult ideas just because a student knows how to do it, doesn’t mean that they will do it.

What would it look like to love some one tangibly with the resources I have.  They know how.

What would it look like to experience patience when wronged.  They know how.

How do we help encourage the next level of knowledge?

3. Contextual knowledge goes beyond declarative or procedural knowledge to include information or skills that are, in part, defined by the conditions under which they are learned. In other words, contextual knowledge is new knowledge acquired during the act of doing something.

For example: After hearing about love, and seeing love exemplified, I need to go and love someone.  It needs to become contextual to my environment.  We as a group are going to love a family in need and who for them.  We are a group are going to put sack lunches together and feed the homeless.  We as a community are going to attend someones game together.  It goes beyond the simple informative or illustration and steps into reality.


How have you seen one or all of these played out in your life?

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