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Compucon DMA20 General Knowledge Print
July 2012

o General Knowledge (GK) is about “how things work” at a general and not specialist level.   GK refers to knowledge that can be applied in many different ways and mostly different to the way it was initially acquired.  An example of GK is that whales and elephants are the largest mammals that exist in the world today. 

o A school age person having just completed Form 6 would have lesser GK than one just completed a university degree.  This is due to lesser time of exposing to a wider scope and receiving knowledge from a structured learning process.  Outside of formal schooling, people would acquire a level of GK at a rate dependent on individuals.  A person who is aware of the existence of GK has a higher probability of possessing more GK than a person without the same awareness.  There is no scale that corresponds to age or desire.    

o Why do we need GK?  GK allows a person to make more associations when planning or doing.  A decision made by a person after considering multiple scenarios has a higher chance of being a better decision than one made without any consideration.  The associations must be valid and this is why input filtering is essential.

o We can develop or acquire general knowledge from news, documentaries, analyses, books, blogs, websites, and other people but we must be able to differentiate information from non-information.   Are those sources reliable or the sources from which they obtain the information reliable?  This is a very important question.  Possessing information that is not true or reliable is harmful to any decision making process.  We must establish the credibility of incoming information by a verification process (this needs due diligence) or inferencing process (this needs logical analysis skills).  When a piece of verified information is taken in, it must be associated with a context or concept and be able to be reproduced by ourselves in our own words to become our knowledge. 

o The width of horizon can be expressed in terms of university curriculum.  At the first level would be science versus non-science to be simplistic.  Science consists of physics, chemistry, biology and more.  Science in this context includes engineering and technology.  Technology includes medical, bridge constructions and space explorations etc.  The non-science stream includes languages, history, arts, and philosophy.  Arts includes performing and non-performing etc.  Philosophy includes logic, psychology and cosmology etc.  There are curriculums not clearly demarcated and crossing disciplines. 

o The depth of assimilation is an internal process in a person.  The same piece of current affairs news will be taken in by 2 persons as having 2 different meanings, implications, consequences etc.  The depth would be higher in a person with both a wider horizon and a more analytical mind.

o We will not be able to set a measurement scale because knowledge is unlimited.  We can only do a few tests to ensure that our own team members have reached a certain level of GK that is needed to support decision making in Compucon New Zealand.  The DMA20 tests will expose the person to issues as discussed in the notes above. 

We include "outside the square" sessions in our monthly CPD seminars for GK