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Education Styles: Knowledge vs Information

Fact: India’s independence occurred on 15 August 1947. An important date to know, undoubtedly, but there’s little meaning in the date itself. It’s only when one understands the day in the context of history, politics, culture, and religion, that the date gains significance – and a spot in the memory and heart. It’s the difference between knowing the what’s and the why’s – or, the difference between information- and knowledge-based education.

Information-based education is an approach that holds up facts as the objective of learning. On the other hand, knowledge-based education aims at processing and applying data. For children, a learning environment that prioritizes knowledge over information is best. While information-based learning can provide them with a solid foundation, most information gets forgotten over time. But because knowledge-based education requires children to practically apply information, the learning process is less easily forgotten.

The differences between the approaches are summarized in the table below:

Imparted primarily in lecture-form, which quickly bores childrenImparted experientially or through examples in order to engage and entertain the child
Superficial, promotes memorization without understandingLasting, promotes understanding and analysis through exploration and experience
Stagnant. Facts do not change.Adaptive/maturing. Facts do not change, but  the child’s understanding and interpretations of them do as he or she ages.
Generic, doesn’t encourage the development of an individual understanding, perspective, and personality.Individual, gives children the freedom to predict, reason, understand cause and effect, and develop preferences for how to do things
Closed, with no scope to make mistakes and learn from themOpen-ended, with room to make mistakes and learn from them
Limits imaginationAllows children to observe, analyse, understand, and create


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