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Glossary

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  • key skills / key competences

    Definition: 

    Sum of skills (basic and new basic skills) needed to live in contemporary knowledge society.

    Comments: 

    in its recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning, the European Commission sets out eight key competences:

    • communication in the mother tongue;
    • communication in foreign languages;
    • competences in maths, science and technology;
    • digital competence;
    • learning to learn;
    • interpersonal, intercultural and social competences, and civic competence;
    • entrepreneurship;
    • cultural expression.
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2004; European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2006.
  • know-how

    Definition: 

    Practical knowledge or expertise.

    Source: 
    based on New Oxford Dictionary of English, 2001.
  • knowledge

    Definition: 

    Outcome of assimilation of information through learning. Knowledge is the body of facts, principles, theories and practices related to a field of study or work.

    Comments: 

    there are numerous definitions of knowledge. Nevertheless, modern conceptions of knowledge rest broadly on several basic distinctions:

    • Aristotle distinguished between theoretical and practical logic. In line with this distinction, modern theoreticians (Alexander et al., 1991) distinguish declarative (theoretical) knowledge from procedural (practical) knowledge.
      • Declarative knowledge includes assertions on specific events, facts and empirical generalisations, as well as deeper principles on the nature of reality.
      • Procedural knowledge includes heuristics, methods, plans, practices, procedures, routines, strategies, tactics, techniques and tricks (Ohlsson, 1994);
    • it is possible to differentiate between forms of knowledge which represent different ways of learning about the world. Various attempts have been made to compile such lists, the following categories seem to be frequently represented:
      • objective (natural/scientific) knowledge, judged on the basis of certainty;
      • subjective (literary/aesthetic) knowledge judged on the basis of authenticity;
      • moral (human/normative) knowledge judged on the basis of collective acceptance (right/wrong);
      • religious/divine knowledge judged by reference to a divine authority (God).

    This basic understanding of knowledge underpins the questions we ask, the methods we use and the answers we give in our search for knowledge;

    • knowledge encompasses tacit and explicit knowledge.
      • Tacit knowledge (Polanyi, 1967) is knowledge learners possess which influences cognitive processing. However, they may not necessarily express it or be aware of it.
      • Explicit knowledge is knowledge a learner is conscious of, including tacit knowledge that converts into an explicit form by becoming an ‘object of thought’ (Prawat, 1989).
    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2008; European Parliament and Council of the European Union, 2008.
  • knowledge society / knowledge-based society

    Definition: 

    Society whose processes and practices are based on production, distribution and use of knowledge.

    Source: 
    Cedefop, 2001 in European Commission, 2001.