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prior knowledge (uncountable)

  1. The knowledge that stems from experience.
    I had no prior knowledge of linguistics, but that didn't stop me from writing a dictionary.
  2. (law) Knowledge of a set of circumstances sufficient to make actions based on those circumstances wrongful.
    The defendant was convicted because the prosecutor proved the defendant's prior knowledge of the victim's particular vulnerability.
  3. Existing knowledge before one begins learning a subject, language, etc.
    • 1995, Jan Elen, Blocks on the Road to Instructional Design Prescriptions, →ISBN, page 217:
      The impact of prior knowledge on the acquisition of knowledge is certanly not a new finding.
    • 2007, Marsha Lovett & ‎Priti Shah, Thinking with Data, →ISBN, page 319:
      Most constructivist-inspired instruction attempts to make contact with students' prior knowledge so students will learn better.
    • 2012, Wolfgang Schneider & ‎Franz E. Weinert, Interactions Among Aptitudes, Strategies, and knowledge in Cognitive Performance, →ISBN:
      Half the students in the study were encouraged to activate prior knowledge (i.e., they wrote down everything they knew about the topic before reading the relevant passage), and half read the to-be-acquired content without opportunity for activation.