Book of the Week: George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge (1)

Knowing Knowledge is one of the first books about the peer to peer induced epistemological revolution, i.e. the deep changes in how we learn and exchange knowledge.

The book is available at

Presentation of the topic

George Siemens introduces his book as follows: “Knowledge is changing. It develops faster, it changes more quickly, and it is more central to organizational success than in any other time in history.

Our schools, universities, corporations, and non-profit organizations, need to adapt. We need to change the spaces and structures of our society to align with the new context and characteristics of knowledge.

How we market, how we learn, how we build, how we collaborate – these are all changing. Most organizations are not prepared for the sea change washing ashore. We are conducting business in a manner that is no longer reflective of the market, or society as a whole.

Knowing Knowledge is an exploration of knowledge – what it is, how it is changing, and what it means to our organizations and society. Knowing Knowledge will be available for purchase (or download) in early October 2006.”

The key thesis of George Siemens is that knowledge proceeds from connections, hence his choice for a ‘connectionist learning theory‘.

A central tenet of most learning theories is that learning occurs inside a person. Even social constructivist views, which hold that learning is a socially enacted process, promotes the principality of the individual (and her/his physical presence – i.e. brain-based) in learning. These theories do not address learning that occurs outside of people (i.e. learning that is stored and manipulated by technology)… In a networked world, the very manner of information that we acquire is worth exploring. The need to evaluate the worthiness of learning something is a meta-skill that is applied before learning itself begins. When knowledge is subject to paucity, the process of assessing worthiness is assumed to be intrinsic to learning. When knowledge is abundant, the rapid evaluation of knowledge is important. The ability to synthesize and recognize connections and patterns is a valuable skill. Including technology and connection making as learning activities begins to move learning theories into a digital age. We can no longer personally experience and acquire learning that we need to act. We derive our competence from forming connections. Karen Stephenson states: “Experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge. Since we cannot experience everything, other people’s experiences, and hence other people, become the surrogate for knowledge. ‘I store my knowledge in my friends’ is an axiom for collecting knowledge through collecting people.

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories…

Principles of connectivism:

– Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.

– Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.

– Learning may reside in non-human appliances.

– Capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known – Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.

– Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.

– Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.

George Siemens maintains a blog and a wiki at

1 Comment Book of the Week: George Siemens’ Knowing Knowledge (1)

  1. AvatarSylvia Currie

    Hello, I’d like to extend an invitation to our January 2007 seminar at SCoPE: Knowing Knowledge, facilitated by George Siemens. SCoPE seminars are hosted by Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Participation is free and open to the public. Spread the word!

    Sylvia Currie

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.