What is Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is a type of knowledge that is difficult to express or articulate, often because it is gained through experience and intuition rather than through formal education or training. It is often referred to as "know-how" as opposed to "know-what," and it can be difficult to share with others because it is so deeply embedded in our own personal experiences and ways of thinking.

person riding a bike without looking at the handlebars

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Here are some examples of tacit knowledge:

  • The ability to ride a bike
  • The ability to play a musical instrument
  • The ability to speak a language fluently
  • The ability to diagnose and fix a problem without having any formal training
  • The ability to read people's emotions

Tacit knowledge is important because it allows us to do things that we would not be able to do if we only had explicit knowledge. For example, if you only had explicit knowledge of how to ride a bike, you would not be able to actually ride one. You would need to have the tacit knowledge of how to balance, steer, and pedal in order to be able to do it.

Tacit knowledge can also be difficult to share with others because it is so personal and context-dependent. What may be tacit knowledge for one person may be explicit knowledge for another. For example, if you have grown up speaking English all your life, you may not even realize that you have tacit knowledge of how to speak English. But if you try to teach someone who has never spoken English before, you will quickly realize how difficult it is to articulate the rules of grammar and pronunciation.

Despite the challenges of sharing tacit knowledge, it is important to find ways to do so. Tacit knowledge is often the most valuable kind of knowledge, and it can be a powerful tool for solving problems, innovating, and making decisions. There are a number of different methods that can be used to share tacit knowledge, such as:

  • Mentorship: One of the best ways to share tacit knowledge is through mentorship. A mentor can provide guidance and support to a less experienced person, and they can help them to develop their own tacit knowledge through experience.
  • Storytelling: Sharing stories about your own experiences can be a great way to share tacit knowledge. Stories can help to illustrate the principles and concepts that you are trying to teach, and they can make the learning process more engaging and memorable.
  • Practice: The best way to learn tacit knowledge is to do it. By giving people the opportunity to practice what they are learning, you can help them to develop their own tacit knowledge and skills.

In conclusion, tacit knowledge is a valuable and important type of knowledge. It is the knowledge that allows us to do things that we would not be able to do if we only had explicit knowledge. While it can be difficult to share, there are a number of different methods that can be used to do so. By finding ways to share tacit knowledge, we can help others to learn and grow, and we can make the world a better place.