TOK – What is Knowledge


Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is an interdisciplinary core component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. The course challenges students to explore the development of knowledge, question it’s foundations, be aware of subjective and ideological biases, and cultivate the ability to form and analyse rational arguments. TOK is an intellectually demanding subject that can occupy thinkers at ever-increasing levels of complexity. This free online course companion module makes the topics of the course accessible on content, conceptual, and interactive levels.

“Teachers and students (leadership and people), co-intent on reality, are both Subjects, not only in the task of unveiling that reality, and thereby coming to know it critically, but in the task of re-creating that knowledge. As they attain this knowledge of reality through common reflection and action, they discover themselves as its permanent re-creators.” ― Paulo Freire

Many of the fundamental concepts that underpin the entire Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course are introduced in what follows. We begin by examining what knowledge can be seen to be, how it can be justified, and how it can be evaluated. TOK is an interesting, challenging, and rewarding subject to study.

Course units are made up of the following lessons. Each lesson consists of 3-4 lesson topics. Lessons become available on a schedule that allows for one lesson topic to be completed per day. An ambitious student could, therefore, complete this course in approximately 3 weeks allowing it to be completed over the summer. Theory of Knowledge, however,  benefits from time spent considering and working with the different ideas of the course. With that in mind, students may want to allow several days to a week per lesson topic to more fully integrate course concepts.

  • Unit 1 – Nature of Knowledge and Certainty: Lessons 1-2
  • Unit 2 – Types of Knowledge: Lessons 3 – 4
  • Unit 3 – Creating and Challenging Knowledge: Lessons 5-6

Thank you for your interest in Theory of Knowledge. While this can be taken alone as an online course, this module has been designed to support greater mastery of TOK concepts and run alongside a classroom based TOK course. By increasing your fluency with TOK you should find you are better able to contribute to class discussions and projects, as well as, demonstrate greater understanding and analysis in your class based assessments.

Requirements – The course consists of 6 lessons divided into 19 lesson topics. Each lesson topic should take 1-2 hours to complete for a total of 20 hours (approx.) required. In addition to the study process found within each lesson topic, there is a reflection assignment to be shared on the TOK Google+ community or via your blog or a shared google document. You will find specific instructions included at each step. You are also expected to comment on, at least, one classmate’s post per lesson topic. You will submit a record these reflections on an assignment table for your cohort.

  • Successful completion of 19 lesson topics
  • Successful completion of all 6 lesson quizzes
  • Successful completion of 6 lesson blog posts
  • Google+ Course Community participation as outlined (There are a total of 13 Google+ Community Posts)
  • At least one reply to a classmate’s post on the Google+ Course Community per lesson topic (19 replies minimum)

Course Credit – As you go through the course you will earn achievement badges to help you keep track of your progress. These are awarded based on the lesson topics you mark as complete and your performance on quizzes. While it is the aim of this course to support your growth as a TOK student and your TOK instructor may use this online component as part of an accredited TOK course, you will not be given TOK course credit for solely completing this online module.

AC_profile_hpsmThis course was written by Adam Clark who has been teaching Theory of Knowledge since 2006 and is TOK coordinator at Yokohama International School. The materials and approach found here stem from the program at YIS but have been developed to suit an online format.

Within each lesson topic of this course educators will find a tab with authentic tasks listed that can be used alongside the online components of the course for students to work collaboratively and more indepthly with the concepts of the lesson. In order to access these posts, educators will need a TOK Instructor membership. The TOK Instructor membership level is expected to be available in the fall of 2014.

Within the TOK course library you will find all of the resources used in the course “What is Knowledge” in addition to a growing collection of articles tagged and organized based on the key terms in the course.

Click for Course Library

You must purchase this course or log-in to view the content.