Sunday, June 21, 2009

What does George Siemens mean by know-where?

Roel Cantada

In Siemens 2004 seminal paper on connectivism he said, "Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed)."

What I am going to do in this blog is to show how I interpret know-where and know-who using a part of my general connectivist model of distance learning.

Figure 1: Graph of know-where

So what we see from the figure above is that we no longer try to remember the actual content of a document but only it's url or keyword. I personally can never remember Bayes' formula, so whenever I need it I type Bayes' theorem or formula and wikipedia in Google, or in my PC local search engine and even Tomboy notes. Or I locate my book. So what we are actually storing in our brain is an index rather than the content. Perhaps when I use the formula frequently enough I would no longer need to search for it (unlikely :-)). In order to identify the best resource nodes, filters can mediate these ties, like using recommendation systems.

Figure 2: Graph of know-who

Know-who is significant in terms of context. That in today's connected world we can know more people, more experts in the entire globe via computer-mediated-communication. Without the internet, I would have become aware of the Canadians George Siemens and Stephen Downes work probably take years. After their writings had trickled down to my island in the Pacific Ocean. In fact I became aware of connectivism only after my professor Prof. Patricia Arinto pointed it out to me last 2008. That was four years after Siemens seminal paper.

The other thing is in relation to the concept of growing connections as part of growing knowledge. The more people you connect, the more recommendations you can have regarding resources. If you have experts as friends then they are going to provide you with the best filtered sources and your path to knowledge will be much faster than having to scan thousands of periodical abstracts.

pajek files of graphs (0.95 kb):


Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved June 21, 2009, from

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