Transfer Of Learning


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Transfer Of Learning

  1. 1. Transfer of Learning Amanda Jones
  2. 2. Definition <ul><li>Transfer of learning is the ability to apply knowledge learned in one context to new contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>Transfer of learning occurs when the learner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>recognizes common features among concepts, skills, or principles; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>links the information in memory; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sees the value of utilizing what was learned in one situation in another. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Examples <ul><li>Knowledge of French may help student learn Spanish </li></ul><ul><li>Learning to drive a car helps a person to later drive a truck </li></ul><ul><li>Learning mathematics prepares students to study physics </li></ul><ul><li>Learning to get along with siblings may prepare one for getting along better with others </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why is it Important? <ul><li>If there were no transfer, students would need to be taught every act that they would ever perform in any situation. </li></ul><ul><li>Because the learning situation often differs from the context of application, the goal of training is not accomplished unless transfer occurs </li></ul><ul><li>All new learning involves transfer based on previous learning (Bransford, 41). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why is it important? (cont.) <ul><li>If we did not transfer some of our prior knowledge, then each new learning situation would start from scratch. </li></ul><ul><li>Assumption of education: what is taught in a course will be used in relevant situations in other courses, in the workplace and out of school </li></ul>
  6. 6. Factors that Affect Transfer <ul><li>Initial acquisition of knowledge is necessary for transfer. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rote learning (memorizing isolated facts) does not tend to facilitate transfer, learning with understanding does </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transfer is affected by degree to which students learn with understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Context plays a fundamental role. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge learned that is too tightly bound to context in which it was learned will significantly reduce transfer </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Factors that Affect Transfer (continued) <ul><li>Knowledge that is overly contextualized can reduce transfer; abstract representations can promote transfer (Bransford, 41). </li></ul><ul><li>Attempts to cover too much too quickly may hinder transfer. </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation affects the amount of time people are willing to devote to learning. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People are more motivated when they can see the usefulness of what they are learning </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Positive vs. Negative <ul><li>Positive transfer: when learning in one context improves performance in some other context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speakers of one language find it easier to learn related rather than unrelated second languages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Negative transfer: when learning in one context has a negative impact on performance in another context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrasts in vocabulary, pronunciation, and syntax create difficulties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically causes problems only in the early stages </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Near vs. Far <ul><li>Near transfer: transfer between very similar contexts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When a mechanic repairs an engine in a new model of car, but with a design similar to prior models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Much better prospects than far transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Far transfer: transfer between contexts that seem alien to one another </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A chess player may apply basic strategies to investment practices or policies </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Mechanisms of Transfer <ul><li>Abstraction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly abstract identical elements can appear in extremely different contexts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Branching of arteries and that of electrical power networks can demonstrate the same principle (need to deliver something to a region point by point) with differences in what constitutes a medium (arteries vs. wires) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transfer by affordances </li></ul><ul><ul><li>During initial learning, the learner may acquire an action schema responsive to the affordances (the action opportunities) of the learning situation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the potential transfer situation presents similar affordances and the learner recognizes them, the learner may apply the same action schema there </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Mechanisms of Transfer (cont.) <ul><li>Low road transfer: when stimulus conditions in the transfer context are similar to those in a prior context of learning to trigger semi-automatic responses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fairly reflexive process and occurs most often in near transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When a person rents a truck for the first time to move, he/she finds that the familiar steering wheel and shift evoke useful car-driving responses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>High road transfer: depends on abstraction from the learning context and a conscious search for connections </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generally not reflexive and requires mental effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A person familiar with chess but new to politics might carry over the chess principle of control of center, contemplating what it would mean to control the political center </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Mechanisms of Transfer (cont.) <ul><li>Sometimes transfer is stimulus driven (the low road); sometimes transfer involves mindful exploration and challenges (the high road) </li></ul><ul><li>Many learning conditions present practice only for a constricted range of examples and not enough practice to achieve considerable automaticity- granting a meager basis for reflexive transfer </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous learning conditions do not promote mental investments such as active abstraction and exploration of probable associations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>People who are more prone to metacognition are more likely to make such mental investments </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Teaching for Transfer <ul><li>In many situations, transfer will take care of itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>students face instances of reading outside of school- newspapers, books, and so on- print provides a stimulus to call to mind reading skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In other contexts of learning conditions for transfer are less promising </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If social studies is not taught by including actual practice in looking at current events with a historical perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If social studies instruction does not encourage learners to reflect upon the eras they are studying and dig up widely applicable questions or conclusions </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Hugging and Bridging <ul><li>Hugging: instruction directly engage learners in approximations to the performance desired (maximizing low road transfer) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher may give trial exams rather than only talking about exam technique </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Job counselor may engage students in simulated interviews rather than only talking about interview demeanor </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bridging: instruction encourages searches for possible connections, metacognition, and mindfulness (emphasizing deliberate conceptual planning and analysis) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher may ask students to develop an exam strategy based on their past understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Job counselor may ask students to construct a plan to highlight their strong points and downplay their weaknesses in an interview </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instruction that integrates the realistic experiential nature of hugging and the thoughtful investigative character of bridging is most likely to yield high-quality transfer (Perkins) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Strategies for Promoting Transfer <ul><li>Teach subject matter in meaningful contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Employ informed instruction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students should learn not only how to explain a concept, but also to understand when and why the concept is useful </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teach subject matter in circumstances as similar as possible to those in which it will be employed </li></ul><ul><li>Provide chances to practice using the subject matter in situations that embody the full range of practical applications that the learner is likely to come across </li></ul><ul><li>Present opportunities for allocating practice after the information has been originally learned </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice should be spread out over a period of time (not combined into a single study session) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encourage positive attitudes toward subject matter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students will be less likely to avoid topics when they are encountered somewhere else </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Summary <ul><li>Transfer is improved when the learner abstracts the profound principles underlying the information being learned, and that abstraction is assisted by chances to experience concepts and principles in numerous contexts (Mestre, 6). </li></ul><ul><li>In school, students study a topic until reaching some level of mastery and then move on to the next topic. However, research suggests that transfer is improved by visiting the topics often rather than once intensely (Mestre, 7). </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity and coherence are most efficient as helping learners attain core knowledge, but after accomplishing some level of knowledge it may serve the learner better to rely less on instruction and more on his/her own mental efforts to make sense and refine the knowledge into a form useful for future use (Mestre, 8). </li></ul><ul><li>Students must generalize, have a desire to solve new problems, move toward new situations, and ultimately take risks. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The more understanding, the better the transfer.
  18. 18. References <ul><li>Bransford, John. How People Learn. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999. </li></ul><ul><li>Ip, Y.K. “Transfer of Learning.” Ideas on Teaching. February 2003. Center for Development of Teaching and Learning. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Learning Theories and Transfer of Learning.” [Online] http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Mestre, Jose. “Transfer of Learning: Issues and Research Agenda.” [Online] National Science Foundation. 21 March 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>Perkins, David. “Transfer of Learning.” [Online] 2 September 1992. http:// </li></ul><ul><li>“ Transfer of Learning.” </li></ul>