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Procedural Knowledge vs. Declarative Knowledge: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed & Hifza Nasir || Published on March 4, 2024
Procedural knowledge involves knowing how to do things, while declarative knowledge is about knowing facts and information.
Procedural Knowledge vs. Declarative Knowledge

Key Differences

Procedural knowledge is characterized by its application in performing tasks; it’s the know-how aspect of knowledge. For example, knowing how to ride a bike or play an instrument involves procedural knowledge. Declarative knowledge, on the other hand, is about factual information or "knowing that." This includes facts, such as the capital of France is Paris, or the boiling point of water is 100°C.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024
Procedural knowledge is often subconscious and hard to verbalize, requiring practice to acquire, declarative knowledge is explicit, easily communicated through words, and often learned from books or lectures. One can explain the concept of gravity (declarative) but may struggle to describe the process of balancing while riding a bike (procedural).
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024
Both types of knowledge are essential in learning and problem-solving. For instance, in mathematics, understanding a concept (declarative) is as crucial as knowing how to apply it to solve problems (procedural).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024
The acquisition of these knowledge types also differs; procedural knowledge develops through repetitive practice and habit formation, whereas declarative knowledge can be acquired quickly through reading or listening.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024
Despite their differences, both declarative and procedural knowledge can convert into each other over time. For example, a practiced skill (procedural) can become so familiar that one can teach it (declarative), and vice versa.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Knowing how to do something
Knowing facts or information
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

Nature

Implicit and hard to verbalize
Explicit and easily communicated
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Acquisition Method

Practice and repetition
Reading or listening
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Examples

Riding a bike, playing an instrument
Capital of France is Paris, boiling point of water
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 04, 2024

Conversion

Can become declarative with familiarity
Can become procedural through practice
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024
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Procedural Knowledge and Declarative Knowledge Definitions

Procedural Knowledge

Is crucial for skills and tasks requiring motor coordination.
Playing the piano involves procedural knowledge of key placement and rhythm.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

Declarative Knowledge

Consists of facts, figures, and explicit information.
The declaration that water freezes at 0°C is a piece of declarative knowledge.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Procedural Knowledge

Can be difficult to articulate or teach explicitly.
Explaining how to maintain balance on a bicycle relies on procedural knowledge.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 26, 2024

Declarative Knowledge

Is necessary for informed decision-making and reasoning.
Knowing the symptoms of a disease (declarative knowledge) is crucial for diagnosing it.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

Procedural Knowledge

Involves steps or methods for performing tasks.
Knowing how to solve an algebraic equation involves procedural steps.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024
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Declarative Knowledge

Forms the basis of understanding concepts and theories.
Understanding the principles of democracy involves declarative knowledge of its definitions and features.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

Procedural Knowledge

Is acquired through practice and habituation.
Learning to drive a car requires procedural knowledge gained through practice.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

Declarative Knowledge

Is easily shared or communicated.
Teaching someone that the Earth orbits the Sun involves conveying declarative knowledge.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 26, 2024

Procedural Knowledge

Often operates below the level of conscious awareness.
Typing without looking at the keyboard is a form of procedural knowledge.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Declarative Knowledge

Can be quickly acquired from books or lectures.
Learning historical dates and events often requires memorizing declarative knowledge.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 26, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How is declarative knowledge acquired?

Through reading, listening, and studying factual information.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Can procedural knowledge be easily verbalized?

No, it is often implicit and hard to express in words.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 04, 2024

What is declarative knowledge?

Declarative knowledge refers to facts and information that one knows and can declare.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

How is procedural knowledge acquired?

It is acquired through practice, repetition, and experience.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

What's an example of declarative knowledge?

Knowing the capital of a country or the boiling point of water.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

Is declarative knowledge easy to share?

Yes, because it consists of explicit facts and information.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

What's an example of procedural knowledge?

Knowing how to swim or ride a bicycle.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

What is procedural knowledge?

Procedural knowledge is the understanding of how to perform various tasks and actions.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Can procedural knowledge become declarative?

Yes, as one becomes more familiar with a procedure, they can articulate it as factual information.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Does learning always involve both types of knowledge?

Yes, most learning processes involve acquiring a mix of both procedural and declarative knowledge.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Can declarative knowledge become procedural?

Yes, through practice, declarative information can be used to develop skills or procedures.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 04, 2024

Why is procedural knowledge hard to teach?

Because it often relies on unconscious competence and muscle memory.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

Why is declarative knowledge important?

It forms the foundation of our understanding and reasoning about the world.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 04, 2024

How do experts differ from novices in terms of these knowledge types?

Experts possess a deep procedural knowledge that allows them to perform tasks with high proficiency, whereas novices may rely more on declarative knowledge.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 04, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.
Hifza Nasir
Co-written by
Hifza Nasir

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