USI - Knowledge Communication USI - Università della Svizzera italiana USI - Knowledge Communication University of St. Gallen

Types of knowledge communication

Knowledge can be best shared, developed and assessed in interactions. These interactions can be instantaneous or delayed. Thus, we distinguish between synchronous and asynchronous knowledge communication. Within synchronous communication, we particularly examine knowledge dialogues, that is to say those face-to-face or remote ("virtual") interactions that lead to high-impact conversations. On the other hand - with regard to asynchronous communication - we focus on knowledge documented in variouts formats, such as abstract thought that is given a graphic representation (we refer to this as knowledge visualization).


Look up some terms in our still small but growing Glossary on types and aspects of knowledge communication:

Assessologue noun knowledge intensive dialogue between experts, decision makers and other types of knowledge workers, which has the main intention to evaluate a subject or a proposition in order to obtain a balanced view of its advantages and disadvantages. Fundamental aspects of this type of dialogue are critical thinking, careful weighting and the active inclusion of various perspectives.


Asynchronous knowledge communication noun the delayed, media-based verbal and non-verbal interactions of people focusing on jointly creating, documenting or integrating knowledge.

Big Picture Problem noun the dysfunctional tendency of a group of experts and decision makers to neglect the overall context of an issue by discussing relevant and irrelevant aspects at an inappropriate level of detail which does not contribute to the team’s conversational progress or to the common understanding of their main objectives. The inappropriate level of detail may be too detailed, i.e., getting lost in minor side-issues, or too broad, not focusing enough on the real (big) issue at hand. It includes the inability to recognize a counterproductive level of detail for an extended period of time and manifests itself in the inability of meeting participants to relate their contributions to the overall goals and context of a knowledge-intensive conversation.

Boundary Object noun an epistemic artefact that inhabits several intersecting social worlds and satisfies the information requirement of each of them. It is flexible in so far as it can have different meanings in different communities, departments, or professional groups, yet its structure is common to all these groups so that it is recognizable to them and can serve as a means of translation and transformation. It serves to surface differences as well as dependencies across various social groups. Examples of objects that can take over the function of boundary objects are glossaries, standard forms, shared methods, visuals, or metaphors.

Crealogue noun knowledge intensive dialogue between experts, decision makers and other types of knowledge workers, which aims to create knowledge and foster new ideas. In this form of dialogue it is important not to criticize, but to let ideas flow and think across disciplinary borders.

Doalogue noun knowledge intensive dialogue between experts, decision makers and other types of knowledge workers, which aims to create the necessary commitment for a future action. To achieve this goal it is important to discuss the implications and to meet possible resistances and hesitations of participants. In addition, the action steps that follow a decision have to be clearly defined.

Dynasketch noun the annotation of diagrams through ad-hoc sketches for the purpose of knowledge sharing and discovery.

Epistemic object noun a clearly defined and argumentatively elaborated set of propositions related to one major idea or insight. It is typically a broad abstract idea, something thought, experienced or imagined, a basic understanding of something that can manifest itself in various knowledge categories (know-how, know-what, know-why).

Epistographics noun a new visual notation system for intrapersonal and interpersonal knowledge communication based on a versatile set of interactive graphic templates. These templates consist of compound visualizations that employ and frequently overlay visual metaphors, diagrams, icons, hypertext, and sketching activities. Epistographics can be used to develop new insights or concepts, share and integrate knowledge, and review ideas or experiences for consistency and communicability.

Knowledge Communication noun 1 the (deliberate) activity of interactively conveying and co-constructing insights, assessments, experiences, or skills thorugh verbal and non-verbal means. 2 The exchange of know-how, know-why, know-what, and know-who through face-to-face or media-based interaction

Knowledge (fostering) Content noun 1 The content of a (compound) document (incl. its design and format) which enables the viewer/reader to re-construct knowledge from it.Knowledge content is related to learning content, but usually contains less didactic functionality. It does not focus on the learning process, but on the transfer of insights. In this sense, knowledge content is systematically represented (or codified) explicit knowledge. Knowledge content can contain documented experiences in the form of stories or formalized and visualized business processes or rules for solvign difficult problems. Typically, knowledge content combines factual and reasoning information.

Knowledge Dialogue noun 1 participative, heedful and open conversations between knowledgeable people upon analyses, values, experiences, processes and forecasts. Knowledge dialogues combine analytical rationality with emotional authenticity, turn group dynamics and mental models explicit and create new knowledge, share existing knowledge, assess knowledge and help to move from abstract to more concrete knowledge.

Knowledge Leverage noun The ratio between the amount of cognitive effort required to acquire and internalize a certain insight and the amount of cognitive effort reduced by using that insight over time. Cf. Mach's Thinking Economy Principle, cf. Occam's Razor, cf. Avenarius Minimal Effort Principle.

Knowledge Visualization noun 1 Knowledge visualization designates all graphic means that can be used to construct and convey complex insights. Examples of knowledge visualization formats are concept maps, interactive visual metaphors, toulmin maps, or value charts.

Live Knowledge Tools noun Cognitive mapping instruments that visualize collective reasoning, argumentation and experience sharing processes in real-time, in either co-located or virtual contexts.

Paraepistemics (also Protoepistemics) noun The study of informal and ad-hoc discovery and inference processes that lead to new knowledge through abduction or analogical reasoning (also called: Informal Knowledge Studies).

Shareologues noun knowledge intensive dialogue between experts, decision makers and other types of knowledge workers, which aim is integrating various knowledge, exchanging experiences or insight and creating a common understanding. The form of this type of dialogue is open, inquisitive and it is important to use examples, analogies and engage in paraphrasing and questioning.

Synchronous knowledge communication noun the instant verbal and non-verbal interactions of people focusing on jointly creating or integrating knowledge.