Although the name implies that knowledge converges on a single point, the practise of convergent knowledge is not the pursuit of one answer that holds true for all people all of the time. Rather, it is the practise of creating spaces - literal or figurative - where those who wish to teach and learn can identify how their ways of thinking about things are similar and build upon their common understandings.
Convergent knowledge is knowledge that can be expressed as answers to the 'wh' questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
As a practice, convergent knowledge cannot be disengaged from divergent knowledge.
Convergent knowledge occurs in an environment of right and wrong answers and involves the learner utilising their various knowledges, understandings and beliefs to find one answer.
[It should be noted that divergent knowledge and convergent knowledge processes do not arise from Piaget's theory.]
'Convergers were described as people who tend to analyze systematically, evaluate critically and deduce logically one feasible solution.'
The careful use of convergent knowledge processes allows learners to negotiate their understandings of their own and fellow learners' schemas of knowledge building - thus increasing their adaptability in intrapersonal and interpersonal activities. e.g. In having a community of practice discuss what is and isn't to be a valid term in their future academic endeavours their understandings of the terms themselves are likely to become more similar and their understandings of what informs themselves and others are likely to become more similar as well.
In most instances, convergent knowledge processes tend to be dominated by traditional teacher-student relationships. e.g. Performing a mathematical operation in the only way that is deemed valid.
When convergent knowledge processes are removed from their usual spaces in mathematics and science and inserted into the social studies experience, care must be taken to ensure that the learning process is a negotiated one. e.g. In history it would be extremely difficult for learners to develop their own interpretations of historical events if knowledge processes were reinforcing the idea that only one way of viewing the event is actually correct.
- ↑ Atherton, James. 'The Experiential Learning Cycle.' Learning and Teaching. Digital resource accessed June 13, 2012 via learningandteaching.
- ↑ Halatchliyski, I., Kimmerle, J., & Cress, U. (2011). Divergent and Convergent Knowledge Processes on Wikipedia. CSCL 2011. Digital copy accessed June 13, 2012 via reganmian.
J. S. Atherton. Learning and Teaching; Convergent and Divergent Learning. http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/converge.htm (accessed February 17, 2013). - this uses visual aids to explain the terms.
--Beth Kicinski 13:49, 14 June 2012 (EST)