I have just finished a paper titled Organising Knowledge with Multi-level Content: Making knowledge easier to understand, remember and communicate.
For those interested in new approaches to non-fiction books, please also have a look at my paper on applying multi-level summaries to books.
- the problem of structure
- the problem of multiple knowledge levels.
All knowledge has structure and making sense of knowledge requires understanding the structure of an explanation.
Given that neither spoken or written words on their own are very effective at communicating structure, I recommend the use of knowledge maps which provide visual representations of knowledge structures.
- future technological and social trends
- a big history of the planet from the Big Bang to the present day
- a comprehensive map of the French language
- a categorisation of cognitive biases.
I think these maps have important implications for how knowledge can be communicated more effectively.
However, it’s important to realise that knowledge does not just have structure, it has hierarchical structure.
Complex explanations need multiple connected levels, organised by detail and importance, if learners are to be able to understand them easily.
A key aspect of learning is being able to move easily between the big picture and the detail (and between the core information and the subsidiary information) in order to build up an understanding of what one is learning.
Yet, if descriptions of the big picture or the core information are not marked out clearly but are instead hidden in a mass of detail – or are missing – learners can struggle.
A solution to the problem of multiple knowledge levels is to provide summary explanations which cover all the different knowledge levels of an explanation.
The concept of multi-level content combines these two solutions with the provision of both knowledge maps and summary explanations.
- allowing an at-a-glance understanding of the knowledge structure or structures being used in an explanation
- making it easier for learners to move between different levels of knowledge
- allowing learners to easily choose the particular knowledge level or levels that best meet their needs.
- non-fiction books
- businesses and organisations
- maps of particular knowledge areas
- training courses.
At the beginning of the paper, there are 5- and 15-minute summaries which will quickly allow you to pick up the main points of the paper. They also help to illustrate the concept of multi-level content.
It can be downloaded here – www.francismiller.com/organising_knowledge_paper.pdf.
(Pages 2-12 are in landscape format. Sometimes the screen pdf shows them in portrait. If this happens, please either re-load the page or download the pdf onto your computer.)
Comments on the paper
This includes a brilliant "knowledge map" of my conclusion to All Out War on why Britain voted to leave the EU. He has reconstructed the structure I had built in my writing software into a chart. Very helpful to cut out and keep. You can also read it here: https://t.co/Ij3d46kTeR https://t.co/WIvRsTC1tB
— Tim Shipman (@ShippersUnbound) March 12, 2021
This is a remarkable, remarkable piece of work. https://t.co/SU3wUnn6O2
— Mr Pink (@Positivteacha) May 9, 2021
this may well be the most useful and fascinating recent work i've discovered on the internet (not for the fainthearted). https://t.co/Nbo0VcXXUt
— matt (@wildewoofs) May 10, 2021
.@francis_miller's 91-page "Organizing Knowledge" is a tour de force, an absolute epistemological treat. https://t.co/DhLGgc3TLd pic.twitter.com/lINDGl9SP6
— Andrew Yu (@andrewcyu) October 8, 2020
This is very good indeed. @francis_miller has demonstrated how to organise knowledge about organising knowledge. https://t.co/ykv8kLfj4m
— oliver caviglioli (@olicav) June 23, 2018
An absolute must read! https://t.co/ejTCSBVXXk
— Kristopher Boulton (@Kris_Boulton) June 25, 2018
Lots of tweets about icons at the moment. I think the more interesting thing to think about is how knowledge is organised. This is excellent https://t.co/5up0dZjQCy @francis_miller
— Matthew Benyohai (@BenyohaiPhysics) April 29, 2020
That was nothing but amazing … Thank you for sharing @francis_miller https://t.co/2OuA9BdsrM
— Sara Hjelm (@sara_hjelm) June 23, 2018
endlessly fascinating https://t.co/SFpHGli6Yb
— julian selman (@julian_selman) June 23, 2018