Declarative and Procedural Knowledge: Differences & Uses

Knowledge management is a critical fragment of any business development. It is a set of procedures that assist in the expansion, use, and assimilation of knowledge. However, there are several types of knowledge that are categorized as procedural, declarative, tacit, and explicit knowledge.

Here, in declarative vs. procedural knowledge, we examine that this classification can help the knowledge management process, as different kinds of knowledge deliver diverse benefits from being administered differently.

What is Declarative Knowledge and How It Works?

Descriptive or declarative knowledge is the knowledge that can be articulated in an indicative proposition or a declarative sentence. Knowing-that can be compared with the knowing-how concept (procedural knowledge), which is knowing how to perform tasks skillfully.

By definition, a declarative form of knowledge is the knowledge of specific facts, as possibly expressed by our concepts, theories, schemas, ideas, and principles. Such knowledge that an individual holds constitutes his or her understanding of the creation and the manner in which it works.

How Declarative Knowledge Works?

Declarative knowledge replies to the query, ‘What do you know?’ It is the understanding of an idea or a concept. To put it in other words, such kind of knowledge can be said of as the ‘what, who, where, and when of the information.’ It is usually discussed utilizing nouns. For example, the names of places, things, dates, or people that events occurred.

Example of Declarative Knowledge

Emphasizing on ‘what to do something’ to resolve a problem, let’s see an example: var a = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
var b = (function(number)
return number*1});
console.log (b);
Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]


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What is Procedural Knowledge and How It Works?

Procedural knowledge is the knowledge exercised in the enactment of certain tasks. Unlike declarative knowledge, also known as propositional knowledge, which includes knowledge of definite proportions or facts, procedural knowledge contains one’s ability to do something.

An individual does not need to articulate verbally his/her procedural or imperative knowledge to count as knowledge, as procedural knowledge necessitates only knowing how to exercise skill or execute an action correctly. It has slenderer but related practical usages in both intellectual property law and cognitive psychology.

How Procedural Knowledge Works?

Procedural knowledge responses to the question, ‘What can you do?’ On the other hand, declarative knowledge is demonstrated utilizing nouns, procedural knowledge depends on action words or verbs. It is an individual’s skill to execute actions to accomplish a task.

Example of Procedural Knowledge

Emphasizing on ‘how to do something’ to resolve a problem, let’s see an example:

var a = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
var b = [ ];
for (var I = 0; I < a.length; i++)
b.push ( a [i] );
console.log (b);
Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Declarative Vs. Procedural Knowledge

Declarative knowledge comprises numerous knowledge sets entailing active goals and known facts. Alternatively, procedural knowledge embraces a sequence of cause and effect guidelines. It ascertains whether it is conceivable to attain a specific goal under given circumstances that are identified at the time.

Let’s take a look at the difference between procedural and declarative knowledge:

Aspects Declarative Knowledge Procedural Knowledge
  • Declarative Knowledge states basic knowledge about certain things.
  • Procedural Knowledge states how a specific thing can be attained.
  • It is also termed as ‘Descriptive knowledge.’
  • It is also termed as ‘Interpretive knowledge.’
  • It is more popular as compared to procedural knowledge.
  • It is generally not used often, hence, less popular.
  • It is more operative in competitive programming.
  • It is less operative in competitive programming.
Validation and debugging
  • Here, validation and debugging are easy.
  • Here, validation and debugging are not very easy.
  • It is data-oriented in its characteristics.
  • It is mostly process-oriented in its characteristics.

How Knowledge Management Helps Organizations?

Declarative knowledge comprises ‘knowing that something is the case. Paris is the capital of France and J is the tenth letter of the alphabet are some examples. Such a knowledge management (KM) system is conscious and can be verbalized often.

How Knowledge Management Can Aid Companies to Use Declarative Knowledge

  • Possessing the right knowledge at the right time is the foundation for making worthy decisions.
  • Harnessing the declarative form of knowledge of your company and making it rapidly available means your employees can get the vital information they require to make astute and fast decisions.
  • Seizing and conveying this kind of knowledge lets you evade repeating tasks that have been done already and saves employees time to pay attention to more useful tasks.
  • By producing a structure for storing, recording, communicating, and organizing your company’s collective declarative knowledge, you will be capable of framing standard operating procedures that will permit your company to accomplish excellent work in real-time.

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Procedural knowledge contains ‘knowing how to do certain tasks.’ For instance, riding a bike. You may not be capable of clarifying how you do it. Procedural knowledge includes implicit knowledge, which any learner may not be cognizant of, and may comprise being capable to use a particular practice to produce or understand without essentially being able to explain it.

How Knowledge Management Can Aid Companies to Use Procedural Knowledge

  • Having employees who complete tasks utilizing procedural knowledge is one thing, getting these employees to convey that knowledge to others is completely another thing.
  • As mentioned earlier, imperative or procedural knowledge can be extremely difficult to explain and complex to document. So, how can a company go about the procedure of storing, accessing, and recording procedural knowledge to gain the advantages of doing so?
  • An augmented competitive benefit over competitors and a decline in brain drain are two examples of advantages that any company can earn by tapping into the ability of a team of employees with considerable procedural knowledge.

Procedural knowledge describes how a specific thing can be attained. Whereas, declarative knowledge describes basic knowledge about a certain thing. The former is usually process-oriented while the latter is data-oriented in their respective nature.

An example of procedural knowledge is riding a bicycle. When you were taught how to ride a bicycle, no matter how many instructions you got, you perhaps struggled to comprehend it. This type of knowledge is difficult to describe as it is stored in your mind subconsciously. (‘muscle memory’ is a phrase utilized to explain implicit knowledge).

Declarative knowledge denotes information or facts stored in the brain that are considered as static in characteristic. This type of knowledge, also mentioned as propositional, descriptive, or conceptual knowledge, defines events, processes, or things; also their attributes and relation to each other.


From declarative vs. procedural knowledge, we observe that attaining procedural knowledge allows employees to gain knowledge in executing tasks smoothly in the long run. Nevertheless, this smoothness remains as long as the circumstances stay the same.

This is where declarative knowledge comes into the picture. With the assistance from CloudTutorial, experts get complete guidance on implementing an arrangement of these two types of knowledge – ‘explanation and practice’ that will be significant to crop effective results.

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