Journal Article: Acquisition of simple and complex knowledge: a knowledge gap perspective [computer file]


Education, Computers/Educational use/Colleges and universities, Information theory, Theory of knowledge


Le Heron, Judy; Sligo, Frank




This paper assesses university students' acquisition of simple and complex knowledge, in exploring whether the knowledge gap hypothesis (KGH) with its origins in community-based research into people's informal learning from mass media, provides insights into students' acquisition and retention of information. The KGH posits that attempts to equalise knowledge within a community by releasing new information into it often either has no such effect, or even worsens knowledge inequities. The present study set out to discover if members of a diverse student class, when presented with the same course-related information, both simple and complex, acquired knowledge at similar rates. After formal university education, those with less prior education acquired less knowledge from the same learning opportunities than those with more prior education at each survey point. Second, although entry education level led to different learning outcomes initially, those with less prior education did subsequently achieve the same level of knowledge as those with more prior education. The paper finally reflects on whether existing KGH claims, based on informal education through the media, apply in a formal education environment. Copyright (c) 2005 Elsevier Science Ltd.


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