Monthly Archives: December 2021

The Process of Learning Implies a Range of Knowing

A range of knowing consists of some kind, level and form of knowing. Kinds of knowing include knowing-that-one, knowing-that, knowing-how and knowing-to. Levels of knowing include preconventional, novice conventional, intermediate conventional, expert conventional and postconventional knowing. Forms of knowing include linguistic, emotional, imaginal, physiological and physical knowing. Examples of ranges of knowing include being able to play the violin, fly an aircraft, swim with the butterfly stroke, write an essay about the causes and consequences of WWI, solve quadratic equations, repair an internal combustion engine and speak French.

It makes no sense to speak of the process of learning without specifying the range of knowing which results from the process of learning. Where there is the process of learning, there is always the resultant of the process, which is the range of knowing that has been learned.

A range of knowing is a psychical condition, not a process. It is the learned ability to achieve some desired outcome or goal with competence and warranted certainty. Because knowing is a condition or state of being, we can not determine whether someone knows something by merely looking at the person. Watching a boy sitting on a bench gives no indication whether he can write and read Russian or skip rope or ice skate. He must perform writing and reading Russian and skipping rope and ice skating to provide evidence of his range of knowing. But when he is not performing those things, he of course still has the range of knowing of those things.

It makes no sense to speak of effective or ineffective learning. The process of learning is always effective, and never ineffective, because learning is a process that always results in some range of knowing. It is impossible for the process of learning to take place without the resultant of some range of knowing. If no range of knowing is achieved, then the process of learning has not taken place.

Of course, it is entirely possible to try to learn some range of knowing and not succeed. Trying to learn some range of knowing is studying. Studying, whether guided by a teacher or conducted independently and unguided, can be effective or ineffective. Studying is a task, like hunting, fishing and trapping. The intention of performing the task is to achieve an intended outcome, but it is entirely possible to be unsuccessful in the attempt. We can study and not learn the range of knowing to the standard that we want to learn it within the timeframe and with the resources available to us.