Teaching Strategies for Declarative vs. Procedural Knowledge

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Instructional Strategies: Hands-On, Interactive, Expository & Collaborative

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 Declarative vs…
  • 0:53 How Declarative…
  • 2:07 How Procedural Knowledge Works
  • 3:09 Declarative and…
  • 4:11 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

There are two types of knowledge: the knowledge of what and the knowledge of how. The knowledge of what is declarative and the knowledge of how is procedural. This lesson reviews these types of knowledge in a classroom setting.

Declarative vs. Procedural Knowledge

Can you ride a bike? Have you ever noticed that even if it's been years since you've ridden one, you never really forget how to do it? But 'how' do you ride a bike? Were you able to write a report that teaches someone how to do it? It would probably be pretty difficult to put that into words.

That is because your understanding of how to ride a bike is procedural knowledge, a skill or action that you are capable of performing. Riding a bike is something you do.

The other side of that coin is declarative knowledge, which is knowledge of facts or concepts. Just as it is difficult to explain in words how to ride a bike, it is difficult to use actions to explain the history of bicycling in the 20th century. In that case, you would use words to show your knowledge.

In this lesson, we will discuss both types of knowledge in detail and cover instructional strategies to incorporate them in the classroom.

How Declarative Knowledge Works

Declarative knowledge answers the question 'What do you know?' It is your understanding of things, ideas, or concepts. In other words, declarative knowledge can be thought of as the who, what, when, and where of information. Declarative knowledge is normally discussed using nouns, like the names of people, places, or things or dates that events occurred.

When teachers have students identify the main characters, plot, and setting of a story, they are assessing declarative knowledge. Writing out definitions to vocabulary words or formulas in math are also examples of declarative knowledge assessment because these are factual statements answering 'What does this word mean?' and 'What is the formula?'

The classroom is full of declarative knowledge assessments like traditional tests, book reports, written or oral history reports, or language translation assignments. These are all ways of assessing a student's declarative knowledge, their understanding of what they have learned.

We are taught in school to focus on the questions 'Who? What? When? Where?' Reports are full of answers to these questions. Because all of these questions are answered with declarative knowledge, it may seem that declarative knowledge is the only important type of knowledge to evaluate in education. But does procedural knowledge have a place in the classroom?

How Procedural Knowledge Works

Procedural knowledge answers the question 'What can you do?' While declarative knowledge is demonstrated using nouns, procedural knowledge relies on action words, or verbs. It is a person's ability to carry out actions to complete a task.

Any time an assignment instruction uses verbs, the standard is addressing procedural knowledge. For example, procedural instructions require a student to evaluate a mathematical expression, to compare and contrast the plots of two literacy passages, or to compose an original play based on a particular period of history. Evaluate, compare, contrast, and compose are verbs, indicating that the knowledge being assessed is procedural.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account