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Is there a difference between Knowledge and Information? As training professionals are we sharing information, teaching knowledge, or both?

Last week I was discussing Commercial Lending training with various designers from financial institutions and someone mentioned how we aim to give knowledge not information. The comment made me start to think about how courses are created. What is knowledge and was is just information? Maybe they are the same?

Definitions from Webster:
acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.

knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction.

Today there is tons of information available at our finger tips. We can Google any word in the world and find pages of results that could take us days to view and read. Does a huge amount of available information mean that we are more knowledgeable? Should we cram as much information as possible in our online courses and “watch” our learners’ knowledge increase by 100%?

Instructional designers have an unique opportunity to “chunk” and organize information into a format that enables the transfer of knowledge. (or at least present information in a manner/format that speeds up that transfer.) ID professionals can sequence, simplify, and visually portray information.

I guess that my final thoughts are that I believe knowledge is gained from what we do with the information around us. I am more knowledgeable when I process information and retain it. The goal of online training could be how to present information in a way that is so inspiring, engaging, and interactive that it is destined to become the learners’ knowledge.

What do you think?

UPDATE from ASTD LinkedIn discussion
Here are a few comments that I liked:

“Knowledge is derived from information.” – Heather Porterfield

“Data does not have context, meaning, or intent.
Information is a subset of data once it is put into context and has a purpose. Knowledge is information that allows us to take action or make decisions.” – John Benson

“There is a hierarchy, in terms of structure, value and complexity –

Starting with

a) unstructured, non-correlated DATA,
b) DATA structured or correlated into INFORMATION,
c) INFORMATION aggregated into KNOWLEDGE, and finally
d) KNOWLEDGE refined into INSIGHTS.

Information hierarchy:
Data, Information, Knowledge, Insight.” – George Mattathil

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