Differences Between Knowledge And Understanding

Differences Between Knowledge And Understanding (Best)5 min read

Over the years, people tend to assume meaning for words they think they know. If you perform a survey, several people think they understand what the term “knowledge” or the term “understanding” means.

It will, however, surprise you to find out that a higher percentage do not ideally know what they mean.

So in other to avoid those assumptions, we will walk through the differences between Knowledge and Understanding.

In the general term, the word “knowledge” is a noun that involves awareness of a particular fact or situation. In another vein, understanding consists of knowing the reason or cause of a problem or thing.

While knowledge may be fixed, understanding is easily flexible as it involves an individuals perception of the said situation or subject matter.

Let’s look at a basic human angle example when a student reads a topic, and he can begin to see why the things in the text are the way they are.

That student is starting to understand that subject matter which in turn add up to his knowledge.

Straightaway, you can see that there exists a difference between these two. But before we dwell on this difference, let’s consider them individually.

Differences Between Knowledge And Understanding


Knowledge, as we defined earlier, is seen as the awareness of a particular fact or situation. It is usually a combination of what you understand and what you don’t understand.

This usually means that knowledge covers a bigger pool of information than understanding. As not all knowledge we possess is understood.

The scope of knowledge is quite widespread, usually beyond the scope of understanding.

Generally, knowledge is usually facts that are often indisputable; you cannot often say a certain knowledge is wrong. As knowledge is most times usually generally accepted.

For instance, the sun rises and sets. This is a fact that I am aware of and several other people, and I can say it without any prejudice.

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This fact can be said to be the knowledge I possess. It doesn’t matter if I understand this concept or not.

These facts that you are aware of and can barely be argued usually form an individual’s knowledge base.

How old you are, your shoe size, time for school resumption, and so many other predictable things usually start an individual knowledge base.

Usually, people are revered for how much knowledge they possess, but should that be the case?. Inevitably, a personal knowledge base is a bigger pool than that of his understanding.

The closer the two grounds mentioned above become, the more equipped you are as an individual.

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Differences Between Knowledge And Understanding


Understanding, however, is a different ball game; we defined understanding earlier as being aware of knowing the reason or cause of a situation or thing.

This shows us immediately the restriction in understanding. It is limited only to the knowledge we can process and grasp. We often are aware of many things (knowledge).

However, most of the things we are aware of will be perceived by us in various ways because we all have different thought processes.

For example, Mr A may have a different perception of the kinetic theory of matter, while Mr B may have a different perception.

This variation in perception is simply the general concept of understanding.

Looking at the above illustration, you can see that understanding would require work as people have a different perceptions.

You, therefore, often have to give reasons for your position on the subject matter; you have to make people understand why you think a certain way, and this perception can be reviewed.

While knowledge is usually mere facts, understanding is typically individual-based and hence varies tremendously.

Usually, in many educational settings, many educationists mistake testing students’ knowledge, but ideally, students should be tested based on what they understand.

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Knowledge vs. Understanding

1. The first difference lies in the definition of the two concepts, while knowledge is seen as the awareness of a particular fact or situation. Understanding is defined as being aware of knowing the reason or cause of a situation or thing. Knowledge is knowing a thing; understanding is knowing the cause or reason.

2. Another major difference that exists between them is existent due to the scope of their definition. From their definition, it’s pretty clear that knowledge is immensely vast when compared to understanding. Knowledge is more extensive than understanding.

3. Knowledge is not the proper ability to check for in a student; understanding is the actual ability every student should possess if you intend to do anything with your knowledge.

4. Knowledge are usually known facts and are usually indisputable. At the same time, understanding is usually based on a person’s perception and is subject to scrutiny and even correction if any default is found.


It has been established that both knowledge and understanding mean different things. It has also been seen that knowledge is broader than understanding and that understanding is the actual test for a student.

However, it will be wrong to fail to realize that to succeed; you need both knowledge and understanding.

The two are closely interrelated; with neither of them being complete without the other, you cannot understand what you don’t know.

Also, any knowledge that is not understood is just a memory that you can’t use for anything.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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