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Knowing vs Understanding

Knowing,’ or the act of knowing, which is called ‘knowledge,’ is defined as ‘the expertise and skill acquired by an individual through experiences and education.’ It includes facts and information about certain things of which you are certain about. It involves the basic recall of facts that have been previously presented.

Understanding’ is processed in the brain. It is defined as ‘a psychological process related to a person, object, situation, or messages which require an individual to think and use conceptualization and association.’ Understanding is the awareness of the connection between pieces of information that are presented and requires a deeper level than just knowing and is essential in order to put knowledge to good use.

For example, you will know that the weather is bad when there is rain, but you may not understand why it is happening. Learning how rain is formed and how it affects the weather is the key to understanding why the weather is bad. 

Understanding takes a longer to take place whereas knowledge can take place at a faster pace. The moment information is given, it is immediately stored in the mind, the individual will then know about the subject.

  • When you know, you are able to identify, label, list, name, and recall.
  • When you understand, you are able to distinguish, explain, interpret, and summarise.

Both understanding and knowing are very important for our growth as individuals. They determine how we view and react to our environment and the people we associate with.