Uncovering Your Tacit Knowledge

As students, teachers, and writers, we know many things.  We know about events. We know information and data and facts.  Most likely, we are familiar with this type of knowledge, our explicit knowledge: things we can easily write down or verbalize, which is also easy to understand.  However, there is another kind of knowledge, tacit knowledge, which isn’t as easy to communicate or easy to be aware of.  Tacit knowledge can provide valuable insights into yourself—your patterns, capacities, and potential challenges.

Here at the UCWbL, we see immense value in uncovering our tacit knowledge, especially when we look to reflect on our work. One of our favorite ways of getting to our tacit knowledge is through a Generative Knowledge Interview, GKI for short.  Developed by Dr. Melissa Pete and her colleagues at the University of Michigan, GKIs work to help us better understand that tacit knowledge.

But how?, you might ask.  Simple, by sharing experiences with our peers and having them reflect back to us patterns within our experiences.

First, participants write down three stories or experiences they’ve had in which they were challenged, enlightened, or learned something about themselves.  Then, in groups of three, participants take turns sharing their stories—one is the story teller, one the interviewer, and one the note taker.  Once the story teller has finished sharing their story, the interviewer and note taker then share the patterns, skills, capacities, or challenges they noticed.

It is through this sharing of our experiences and having peers relate back patterns they noticed that we are able to start to uncover that tacit knowledge.  These patterns help us to understand ourselves better, and help us to understand the knowledge we have but aren’t necessarily aware of.  The idea is, if you can become aware of your tacit knowledge, you will be better prepared as you step into a new classroom, job, or environment.

Check out the video from the DePaul Teaching Commons on Generative Knowledge Interviews and how they can help you uncover your tacit knowledge, and visit the DePaul Teaching Commons Website for more information on how to utilize GKIs!


Join the discussion One Comment

  • Maggie C. says:

    GKIs are interesting to participate in. I, personally, find the roles of notetaker and interviewer better than storyteller because I like helping other uncover their tacit knowledge. After my past GKI experience, everyone felt their patterns reflected something great about them as a learner/overall person. They truly provide information that helps you understand yourself better.