The often-quoted maxim ‘Knowledge is power’, attributed to the British philosopher Sir Francis Bacon (1597), acclaims the commanding influence that accompanies personal understanding, insight, or erudition. Through the ages, Bacon’s sentiments have been echoed by other renowned philosophers (Hobbes, 1668; Plato [360 BCE] 2006), writers (Byron, 1822; Shakespeare [1591] 2003), politicians (e.g., Annan; United Nations 1997; Jefferson, 1817), and contemporary entrepreneurs (e.g., Bezos; Gregersen, 2015). It is also reflected in the writing of many in the educational research community (Murphy, Alexander, & Muis, 2012; Schön, 1983). Indeed, it has been claimed by educational theorists and researchers that the raison d’être for formal education within democratic societies is knowledge development among the populace (Alexander, 2000; Dewey, 1916).

Yet, beyond these shared sentiments and the general belief that knowledge is an essential and powerful force in human existence, lingering questions remain as to what philosophers, writers, politicians, entrepreneurs, educators, and even everyday citizens actually mean when they write or utter the word knowledge. Also, how would these individuals explain knowing; the process by which knowledge is formed? Moreover, what about the concept of information and its relation to knowledge and knowing? Given this age of information-saturation and 24/7 digital connectedness, it becomes imperative to explore the boundaries between knowledge and information, and the process of knowledge building vis-à-vis information management.

Throughout this exploration, it will be necessary not only to examine what these foundational constructs mean, but also to survey their meaningfulness to human learning and development; that is, their implications for educational practice. This examination begins with a probing of knowledge as perceived through the eyes of philosophers, psychologists, and everyday people. We consider the differing states and forms of knowledge that populate both the empirical literature and the lexicon of everyday people. Next, we survey the complex terrain of knowing and the varied theoretical perspectives on how knowledge develops. Finally, we turn our attention to the notion of information and the conceptual space it occupies relative to knowledge.