Utdrag fra Bates: Teaching in a Digital World

Dette er noen nøkkelutdrag fra epistemologi-kapitlet i Bates, A.E.: Teaching in a Digital World [HTML]. Jeg har gruppert og satt på de norske overskriftene.

Kunnskapens varekarakter

All .. agree that the ‘new’ knowledge in the knowledge society is about the commercialisation or commodification of knowledge:

  • ‘it is defined not through what it is, but through what it can do.’ ‘
  • The capacity to own, buy and sell knowledge has contributed, in major ways, to the development of the new, knowledge-based societies.’

In a knowledge-based society, particular emphasis is placed on the utility of knowledge for commercial purposes. As a result there is more emphasis on certain types of immediately practical knowledge over longer term research, for instance, but because of the strong relationship between pure and applied knowledge, this is probably a mistake, even in terms of economic development.

Knowledge is the driver of most modern economies that represents a major shift from the ‘old’ industrial economy, where natural resources (coal, oil, iron), machinery and cheap manual labour were the predominant drivers.

Måten det læres på

Not so much the nature of knowledge, but how students or learners acquire that knowledge and learn how it can be used, i.e. more emphasis on developing and learning skills of how best to apply knowledge, rather than a focus on merely teaching content, ..with many more sources of information besides the teacher or instructor and that a key educational issue is the management of vast amounts of knowledge.

Håndtere rikholdige og dynamiske kunnskapskilder

Since knowledge is dynamic, expanding and constantly changing, learners need to develop the skills and learn to use the tools that will enable them to continue to learn.

Akademisk kunnskap

Academic knowledge is different .. from other kinds of knowledge, and particularly from knowledge or beliefs based solely on direct personal experience. (It is a) second-order form .. that seeks abstractions and generalizations based on reasoning and evidence (in terms of ..)


    • Transparency: Can be traced and verified.
    • Codification: Consistently represented that enables interpretation by someone other than the originator.
    • Reproduction.
    • Communicability. Can ge challenged by others.


(Laurillard:) Teaching at a university level must go beyond direct experience to reflection, analysis and explanations of those direct experiences. Because every academic discipline has a specific set of conventions and assumptions about the nature of knowledge within its discipline, students in higher education need to change the perspectives of their everyday experience to match those of the subject domain. As a result .. university teaching..

  • Is essentially a rhetorical activity, persuading students to change the way they experience the world.
  • Relies heavily on symbolic representation, such as language, mathematical symbols, ‘or any symbol system that can represent a description of the world, and requires interpretation to enable this mediation to take place.


If academic knowledge requires mediation, then this has major significance for the use of technology. Language (i.e. reading and speaking) is only one channel for mediating knowledge. Media such as video, audio, and computing can also provide teachers with alternative channels of mediation.


(Laurillard represents) a counter-balance to the view that students can automatically construct knowledge through —

  • Argument and discussion with their peers (or)
  • Self-directed study (or)
  • The wisdom of the crowd.

For academic knowledge, the role of the teacher is to help students understand not just the facts or concepts in a subject discipline, but the rules and conventions for acquiring and validating knowledge within that subject discipline.

Academic knowledge shares common values or criteria, making academic knowledge itself a particular epistemological approach.


There have always been different kinds of knowledge. Academic knowledge has always been more highly valued in education than ‘everyday’ knowledge. However, in the ‘real’ world, all kinds of knowledge are valued, depending on the context. Thus while beliefs about what constitutes ‘important’ knowledge may be changing, this does not mean that the nature of academic knowledge is changing.

Other kinds of knowledge that don’t fit the definition of academic knowledge are those kinds built on experience, traditional crafts, trail-and-error, and quality improvement through continuous minor change built on front-line worker experience.

(Gilbert:) There has been a shift in valuing applied knowledge over academic knowledge in the broader society, but this has not been recognised or accepted in education (and particularly the school system). .. Academic knowledge as associated with narrow disciplines such as mathematics and philosophy, whereas applied knowledge is knowing how to do things, and hence by definition tends to be multi-disciplinary. Academic knowledge is:

  • Authoritative, objective, and universal knowledge.
  • It is abstract, rigorous, timeless – and difficult.
  • It is knowledge that goes beyond the here and now (knowledge) of everyday experience to a higher plane of understanding…..

In contrast, applied knowledge is practical knowledge that is

  • Produced by putting academic knowledge into practice.
  • Gained through experience, by trying things out until they work in real-world situations.

(Interessant at akademisk kunnskap er på et høyere/dypere plan, mens anvendt kunnskap virker i praksis … Her er det en knute 😉

Ren og anvendt

.. challenge the view that academic knowledge is ‘pure’, not applied. It is too narrow a definition, because it thus excludes all the professional schools and disciplines, such as engineering, medicine, law, business, education that ‘apply’ academic knowledge. These are just as accepted and ‘valued’ parts of universities and colleges as the ‘pure’ disciplines of humanities and science, and their activities meet all the criteria for academic knowledge set out by Gilbert.

Digital kompetanse

Making a distinction between academic and applied knowledge misses the real point about the kind of education needed in a knowledge society and a digital age. It is not just knowledge – both pure and applied – that is important, but also digital literacy, skills associated with lifelong learning, and attitudes/ethics and social behaviour.

Dynamisk. Flyt.

Knowledge is not just ‘stuff’, or fixed content, but it is dynamic. Knowledge is also not just ‘flow’. Content or ‘stuff’ does matter as well as the discussions or interpretations we have about content. Where does the ‘stuff’ come from that ebbs and flows over the discussions on the internet? It may not originate or end in the heads of individuals, but it certainly flows though them, where it is interpreted and transformed. Knowledge may be dynamic and changing, but at some point each person does settle, if only for a brief time, on what they think knowledge to be, even if over time that knowledge changes, develops or becomes more deeply understood. Thus ‘stuff’ or content does matter, though knowing (a) how to acquire content and (b) what to do with content we have acquired, is even more important.

Thus it is not sufficient just to teach academic content (applied or not). It is equally important also to enable students to develop the ability to know how to find, analyse, organise and apply information/content within their professional and personal activities, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to be flexible and adaptable in developing new knowledge and skills. All this is needed because of the explosion in the quantity of knowledge in any professional field that makes it impossible to memorise or even be aware of all the developments that are happening in the field, and the need to keep up-to-date within the field after graduating.

To do this learners must have access to appropriate and relevant content, know how to find it, and must have opportunities to apply and practice what they have learned. Thus learning has to be a combination of content, skills and attitudes, and increasingly this needs to apply to all areas of study. This does not mean that there is no room to search for universal truths, or fundamental laws or principles, but this needs to be embedded within a broader learning environment. This should include the ability to use digital technologies as an integral part of their learning, but tied to appropriate content and skills within their area of study.

Also, the importance of non-academic knowledge in the growth of knowledge-based industries should not be ignored. These other forms of knowledge have proved just as valuable. For instance it is important within a company to manage the every-day knowledge of employees through better internal communication, encouraging external networking, and rewards for collaboration and participation in improving products and services.

Modelltenkning i praktisk anvendelse

However, one feature of a digital society is that increasingly these vocational skills are now requiring a much higher proportion of academic knowledge or intellectual and conceptual knowledge as well as performance skills. For example higher levels of ability in math and/or science are now demanded of many trades and professions such as network engineers, power engineers, auto mechanics, nurses and other health professionals. The ‘knowledge’ component of their work has increased over recent years.

The nature of the job is also changing. For instance, auto mechanics are now increasingly focused on diagnosis and problem-solving as the value component of vehicles becomes increasingly digitally based and components are replaced rather than repaired. Nurse practitioners now are undertaking areas of work previously done by doctors or medical specialists. Many workers now also need strong inter-personal skills, especially if they are in front-line contact with the public. At the same time, as we saw in Chapter 1, more traditionally academic areas are needing to focus more on skills development, so the somewhat artificial boundaries between pure and applied knowledge are beginning to break down.

In summary, a majority of jobs now require both academic and skills-based knowledge. Academic and skills-based knowledge also need to be integrated and contextualised. As a result, the demands on those responsible for teaching and instruction have increased, but above all, these new demands of teachers in a digital age mean that their own skills level needs to be increased to cope with these demands.

Hva kan man si?

Jeg er enig i noen punkter over, og mener at andre er godtkjøps-vurderinger i et universitetsmiljø i stor og relativt langsom forandring.

Anvendbar kunnskap er opplagt en vare i markedet. Kunnskapsarbeidere som frambringer den også. Det slår inn i det offentlige akademiske systemet i form av kvasimarkedet for utlysning/anbud og kjøp/salg av kunnskapsentrepriser (forskningsprosjekter, utredningsforskning).

Det er fortsatt et poeng at studenter ikke lærer nok av

    • Å diskutere med andre studenter. Dyp kunnskap vokser ikke spontant ut av seminarbordet. Erfaringene fra online- og stedlige diskusjoner er at minst en deltaker må vite og kunne mer om noe av betydning enn de andre. Diskusjonen kan likevel være bredt forankret når (de facto-)lederen og de øvrige – i sokratisk ånd – stiller både åpne og “ledende” spørsmål framfor å framføre eget syn.
    • Selvstudier. Man må bryne egen forståelse, formulering- og overtalelsesevne på andre.
    • Folkemeningen (Wisdom of crowds).

De er mange og de tilegner seg en for akademiet særegen, men endret måte å lære, formidle og anvende kunnskap på under markedsmessige forhhold:

  • Ny metodelære.
  • Platon svekkes til fordel for Aristoteles.
  • Remediering med nye former for kunnskapsrepresentasjon og kuratering.

Ny metodelære.

Digitalisering fordrer ny metodelære som gjelder ny epistemologi og de praktiske grep for å lære, mediere og kuratere (representere og forvalte). Det epistemologiske grunnlag blir strategisk utfordret av AI. Hva betyr det når et dataprogram kan og forstår?

Platon vs Aristoteles.

Platons ide om evige sannheter (det opphøyde, det høyere plan, det tids-og steds-uavhengige)  faller.  I dens sted trer det denne-sidige og historiske (historisitet); det flytende og transformative. Det betyr ikke vilkårlighet og multiple sannheter, men sammenbrudd for fordomspreget, dvs. ahistorisk monokultur. Til det siste hører den akademiske skolastikken som kler seg i vitenskapelig form, men som  – i tråd med Kuhn – er bærer av et historisk utviklet paradigme. Et interessant eksempel er den skolastiske “kunnskapsbaserte” opptreden av akademiske ledere som bryr seg lite om faktisk undersøkelse på sine ansvarsområder. Aristoteles’ praxis og fronesis gjenvinner betydning.

Motstridende tendenser

Det skjer en mangesidig bevegelse mot

  • spissing (innsnevring) og fordypning av kunnskapsrepresentasjonene
  • alminneliggjøring/popularisering og bred, folkelig tilgang
  • vulgarisering, vandrehistorier, ekkokamre
  • automatisering av kunnskapsrik handling

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