The Knowledge Management Research Group

Seven knowledge roles of a knowledge manifold

The KMR-group is basing much of its development work on a kind of knowledge-pulling educational architecture that we call a Knowledge Manifold. A Knowledge Manifold consists of linked Knowledge Patches - each maintained by a custodian called a Knowledge Gardener. A KP in turn consists of a set of learning resources that are tied together with maps that represent the subject domain context model of the KG. Such context maps are preferably constructed using ULM, since the resulting context maps have clearly defined and verbally coherent visual semantics. This makes it easy to cognitively integrate the conceptual relations and achieve an overview of the context. Moreover, making the context visually explicit provides important support for the conceptual calibration activities that form an integral part of the learning process

The KM-archtecture defines (at least) seven different Knowledge Roles that can be taken dynamically by both teachers and learners. The first three of these knowledge roles involve construction, while the last four involve performance. Hence, in the KM architecture, there are three constructing and four performing knowledge roles.


There are at least three important reasons why these knowledge roles should include learners at all stages of their learning process.

  • First, in order to enhance their learning, it is crucial to engage the learners in the explanation process. It is only when you get a chance to explain something to someone else that you realize that you may not understand it as well as you thought.
  • Second, when you have just understood something, you tend to be very effective in communicating it. You are excited about your new insights, while at the same time you still remember what it was like not to be so enlightened. Being in this transient state of excitement over your new knowledge combined with appreciation of the reasons for your previous ignorance, gives you the potential to be extremely efficient as a teacher.
  • Third, a learner is often ashamed to put a question to a highly qualified knowledge source because of fear that the question might be perceived as stupid. Talking to another learner who is basically "on the same level" is often much less threatening in this respect.
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