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Knowledge Smorgasbord

The universe of knowledge is organized so that modules can be accessed and combined more flexibly to suit a multitude of lifelong learnings.

Photo of Pete Kale
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If you're a lifelong learner, there are many sources of knowledge to satisfy your curiosity. There are things you need to know (taxes, insurance); things you should know (civics, economics, law) and things you'd just like to know more about. Yet most of this information is buried in forms and structures that make it hard to take in. You may need to take an entire course to learn something relatively specific or watch an entire video series yet still only learn a part of what you hoped to discover. The knowledge smorgasbord is an attempt to characterize sources of knowledge in more descriptive ways than current taxonomies do, so that not only content is captured, but also formats and especially how these sources can be integrated with others for various purposes.

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

The knowledge smorgasbord is designed primarily for adults who are exploring knowledge domains outside of the current formal structures of university degree programs to extend knowledge in areas that otherwise fall through the cracks between disciplines and programs. Its aim is to find new ways to connect knowledge through related content and formats so that tailored combinations can be created that satisfy specific needs and desires for knowledge.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

It would be great to hear stories from people who've tried to find out information, but been frustrated by the search. It would also be informative to hear of the variety of circumstances in which people find themselves searching for answers. I'd like to know more about the shortcomings of past approaches such as the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress categorizations, among others.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Talk to some librarians to discover some of their more challenging and unique search requests, then concoct a couple of extreme examples and discover the range of resources and ways they could be combined.

Tell us about your work experience:

I work in the Federal Government, and am assigned to an innovation activity.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Pete,

Thank you for sharing your idea. Sadly, it is not something I know a lot about. Perhaps the poster of this research post might know - Advance Openness in Higher Education