These simple definitions don’t really address the complexities of measuring, assessing or studying transfer, but they are a useful starting point.Most definitions of knowledge transfer involve three elements: something learned in the past, something applied in the future, and something that enables what was learned in the past to directly affect or influence what is done in the future (Haskell; Perkins and Salomon; Royer, Mestre and Dufresne). Historically not all knowledge transfer theorists consider the learner and what the learner brings with them to the transfer problem. In some definitions, the learner is something transfer happens to, or through, rather than the agent of transfer.
I’m going to start by presenting two theories that are currently driving much of the transfer research. One important point on these two theories before I move on. Traditional transfer research has largely been based from a cognitive approach until the last 15 years or so. IN this view of transfer, as described by Loboto (2003), traditional transfer research defines transfer as “the application of knowledge learned in one situation to a new situation”. Most of the research methods using this approach were experimental or quasi-experimental in nature. In one such study, Bransford and Stein (1993) examined the role of learning facts about the heart vs. learning about how and why the heart functioned as a system. They found that Individuals who only memorized facts about the heart were unable to abstract and apply their knowledge to a new situation in the study, while those who had a larger understanding of the heart as a system were able to transfer that knowledge to solve the presented problem. Research questions within this view include “was transfer obtained” and “what conditions facilitate transfer”? Because much of this work was experimental, the rich context—so critical to understanding complex tasks, such as writing—was lost. Royer, Mestre, and Dufrense (2005) write, “Cognitive theories of the transfer of learning were developed in the context of the presentation of ideas about how the human cognitive system was structured and about how it functioned. Specifically, it was assumed that the cognitive system was structured into the components of a stimulus (iconic) memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.” Theories of memory gave way to discussions of comprehension, and comprehension became associated with the transfer of learning (xv).
A traditional transfer of learning view would look something like this (built from descriptions of students in Herrington, McCarthy, and Driscoll:Briel and Jimmy are both taking a first-year composition course and are required to write a film analysis. Both students are successful and earn high grades on the analysis. Briel recognizes that the film analysis skills she learned can help her write a product analysis whitepaper for her BUS300 class. She transfers knowledge from her FYC course to the product analysis whitepaper, and later to the analysis of presidential candidates for voting. Under this view, Briel has successfully learned something about writing an analysis and is able to transfer that knowledge to new and diverse situations. On the other hand, Jimmy never sees and is never taught how to see the connection of his FYC writing to his other coursework in business—for example, how writing the film analysis may help him write a product analysis as it is similar in structure, length, and genre. Jimmy, therefore, approaches his product analysis assignment as a new and novel situation and is frustrated by his lack of knowledge (and we have countless examples of this from within writing studies). Jimmy has acquired a specific set of skills and genres for the purposes of a writing assignment but has not been able to apply it in new areas (hence, under the above definitions, has not “learned”)
Royer, Mestre, and Dufrense (2005) describe the recent theoretical shift in transfer theories between a traditional cognitive view of transfer, held by psychologists, and a more active/socially constructed view of transfer which pays attention to the context in which research takes place. Loboto (2003), arguing for an actor-oriented transfer approach, frames it in the following ways Definition: “The personal construction of relations of similarity across activities (i.e., seeing situations as the same).”Research method: “Researchers look for the influence of prior activity on current activity and how actors construe situations as similar Research questions: “What relations of similarity are created? How are they supported by the environment?”(Loboto 2003, 20) Some researchers working with the Actor-Oriented frame have abandoned the term “transfer” and instead focus on the idea of “boundary crossing” or “knowledge building”. This is a contextual view of transfer, where students are engaging in context-based activity systems where they aren’t just transferring knowledge but shifting into entirely different contexts with different rules, texts, etc. The most widely used context-based theory of transfer, and one heavily drawn upon in writing studies, is activity theory. Toumi-Grohn and Engestrom describe activity theory in the following way: The conceptualization of transfer based on socio-cultural views take into account the changing social situations and individual’s multidirectional movement from one organization to another, from home to school or from workplace to school and back. Based on activity theory, this conceptualization expands the basis of transfer from the actions of individuals to collective organizations. Its not a matter of individual moves between school and workplace but of the efforts of school and workplace to create together new practices. (34).As they argue, activity systems are structured to include a number of features: rules, division of labor, community, subjects, objects, instruments, and outcomes. It is through the relationship of each of the above aspects of this larger activity system that transfer can occur. Toumi-Grohn and Engestrom argue that transfer in this model is primarily driven by the interaction—and resolution of conflict—between different activity systems, such as school and work. Through “expansive learning” individuals involved in two or more activity systems will experience contradictions between the activity systems. This leads to asking questions, debating, and collaborating and through this process, possible change in both activity systems (32). On the surface, activity theory, readily embraced by compositionists, seems to provide a solution to the challenges of understanding transfer through a cognitive approach. Unfortunately, by heavily emphasizing the context, writing researchers have overlooked dispositional aspects (such as self efficacy, motivation, and student beliefs) that we’ll argue are necessary for successful transfer to take place and that impact how an individual moves through an activity system. We now examine research concerning transfer specific to writing and examine gaps in our field’s understanding of individual dispositions.
An activity theory-based view of transfer might look something like this:In this case, Briel and Jimmy aren’t just transferring knowledge or the ability to complete tasks but rather moving between activity systems. Toumi-Grohn and Engestrom argue that transfer in this model is primarily driven by the interaction—and resolution of conflict—between different activity systems, such as school and work. Through “expansive learning” individuals involved in two or more activity systems will experience contradictions between the activity systems. This leads to asking questions, debating, and collaborating and through this process, possible change in both activity systems (32). In the case of Briel, when see experiences a contradiction in the values of her different activity system, she is able to address that contradiction and successfully “transfer” he knowledge to a new boundary. Jimmy is unable to do so.
On the surface, activity theory, readily embraced by compositionists, seems to provide a solution to the challenges of understanding transfer through a cognitive and task-based approach. Unfortunately, by heavily emphasizing the context, writing researchers have overlooked dispositional aspects (such as self efficacy, motivation, and student beliefs) that Wells and Driscoll argue are necessary for successful transfer to take place and that impact how an individual moves through an activity system. The work of Bergmann and Zepernick was one of the first to place an emphasis on the connection between some dispositional characteristics (namely, student beliefs and attitudes) and transfer of learning. Bergmann and Zepernick conducted focus groups with upper-division students on their perceptions of FYC. They write, “the attitudes expressed by our respondents suggest that the primary obstacle to such transfer is not that students are unable to recognize situations outside FYC in which those skills can be used, but that students fail to look for such situations because they believe that skills learned in FYC in particular have no value in any other setting” (139). What their work suggests is that characteristics unique to individual students (values, perceptions, self-efficacy) are as important as instructional contexts within an activity system. These arguments closely align with the work of Bereiter, who argues for a dispositional view of transfer, or the ability of learners to be able to transfer dispositions, or ways of seeing and approaching new tasks (24).
Bronfenbrenner’s Bio-ecological model of development invites us to consider the interplay between processes, developing individuals, and the contexts (local environments, broader cultural and social contexts, temporal factors) in which they both learn and apply knowledge in the development of writing ability.The individual is not a passive receptor of knowledge, but rather brings his or her bank of resources, dispositions, personal characteristics and purposes to the learning and application of knowledge. In transaction with the learning environment, the developing individual construct meaning which is later applied or repurposed in new contexts.At the core of this theory, characteristics of the individual are seen to influence learning and application of knowledge – intrapersonal factors such as OCD, low self-efficacy, shyness, limited prior educational experiences can both shape students transactions within the learning environment and the can impact their capacity or willingness to apply knowledge in new contexts.
Factors beyond the individual also influence this learning and application of knowledge. The microsystems in which the individual lives can support or inhibit learning and transfer – challenging home environments can impede learning, as can problematic peer groups, classroom environments, or school curricula – the opposite can also be true.
Focus of the assessment is on:Knowledge developed in task 1Replication of that knowledge in task 2 If factors beyond the task design inhibit or support transfer this conception doesn’t enable us to understand what is going on.
Strengths: Examines both the transformation of knowledge in the transfer process, and the role that the school system plays in supporting or inhibiting transfer.Weaknesses: Does not account either for intrapersonal factors that influence learning, nor contextual factors beyond the school system that may support or inhibit transfer.
Strengths: Emphasizes that inputs do not often equal outputs – that knowledge is reshaped as it is applied in new contexts. Examines the role that prior knowledge plays in shaping current performancePotential weaknesses: Does not focus systematically on the interplay between characteristics of the individual and the broader social context in which he or she is developing and applying knowledge.
What is important to the bio-ecological perspective, however, is that it requires us to focus both on how the characteristics of the developing individual and contextual factors (both immediate and more remote) influence the acquisition and the application or repurposing of knowledge. This broader perspective enables us to better understand what supports transfer and what inhibits transfer. The danger of an incomplete picture is that in cases where transfer does not occur we might either blame the pedagogy or the curricular structures for a lack of transfer when contextual factors outside the school context, or intrapersonal characteristics of the developing individual may be the primary barriers to transfer. Research Betsy Sargent and I worked on at the U of A suggests that many of the barriers to transfer experienced by the students we worked with, fell outside the focus of traditional theories of transfer.
Central to all assessment activity must be a concern for construct validity.What knowledge domain am I assessing?
Beaufort’s Transfer-Oriented construct model: Discourse community knowledgeGenre KnowledgeSubject Matter knowledgeWriting Process knowledgeRhetorical knowledgeMetacognitive knowledge
Assessment design should account for both the developmental perspective and the construct model one is working with.
Example of assessment design that draws on an ecological view of transfer.
To consider how we might develop specific applications of the contextual-dispositional and bio-ecological assessment designs Dana and David have introduced, I’d like to talk briefly about a key feature of transfer, namely its reliance on metacognition. Then I’ll describe one approach well suited to assessing metacognition in learning to write, and I’ll situate that approach in terms of the larger assessment imperatives David and Dana have described.
According to Salomon and Perkins’s influential 1989 article “Rocky Road to Transfer: Rethinking Mechanisms of a Neglected Phenomenon,” there are two types of transfer, high road and low road.Low road transfer involves practicing a skill or application of a concept so often that it becomes automatic, then encountering a subsequent context with enough similarities to the learning context that the learner spontaneously uses the prior knowledge. It has greater potential for prompting “negative transfer,” or the inappropriate application of concepts or habits in a new context, for instance, Americans who find themselves driving on the right while visiting England.In contrast, high road transfer results from consciously abstracting principles learned in one context and applying them in a subsequent context. It has greater potential for prompting thoughtful adaptation of previously learned concepts and skills in different contexts encountered subsequently.
According to Salomon and Perkins, “mindful abstraction” is the driving force behind high-road transfer.Mindful abstraction is required because in high-road transfer, the key is understanding, rather than rote application of information, procedures, or ideas. Through mindfulness, the learner develops deep understanding of an abstraction by analyzing the relationship between specific instances where it applies and the general principle it embodies.
In a synthesis of research on transfer, the National Research Council lists several strategies such research shows promote the metacognitive thinking that drives high-road transfer.Teaching new knowledge in multiple contexts: for instance, FYW and WAC coursesSpecific to general strategies: for instance, discussing strategies for learning a particular new genre and then considering how to adapt such strategies in learning a wide range of genresHelping students abstract principles: for instance, asking students to review assignments that asked them to write for three different rhetorical situations and to use this review to generate a list of principles for identifying a rhetorical situation and determining how to make appropriate writing choices to address it. Next, Kara and Liane will discuss how to foster metacognition through reflective assignments.
While promoting metacognition is a key means of fostering transfer, as Dana and David have shown, cultivating metacognition is only one aspect of the question. Another crucial aspect has to do with the interaction between the individual learner and the social context. This interaction involves the learner’s motivation and dispositions and how the context shifts these forces in one direction or another. The NRC’s synthesis of transfer research lists a few key factors and teaching approaches Task difficulty level: too easy=boring: no engagement; too difficult=frustrating: disengagementPerceived relevance: requires learners to see clearly the immediate or future relevance of concepts and procedures being taught; depends significantly on learner presumptions but can be affected by tasks that provide social motivation, e.g., allowing learners to impact others, as in service-learningPerformance orientation=concern about “doing it right”/avoiding mistakes; learning orientation=interest in adapting prior knowledge in ways that will help address challenges in a new context; the NRC suggests that learners probably toggle between performance and learning orientation in different settings; thus teachers may support a shift toward learning orientation by providing support for risk-taking
As David mentioned earlier, Schwartz, Bransford, and Sears argue that the more complex understanding of transfer as resulting from interaction between individual and contextual factors means that traditional investigations have failed to recognize instances of transfer. S,B,S argue that we need a new research paradigm for evaluating when transfer does and doesn’t occur.S,B,S explain that interpretive knowledge plays a key role in shaping how people respond to new learning challenges. This knowledge comes into play when people don’t yet have the conceptual and/or procedural knowledge needed in a new learning situation. S,B,S define interpretive knowledge as the framing one uses to make sense of such a new situation and to guide what one notices in it. They contend that evaluating interpretive knowledge allows researchers to gauge what learners are “transferring into” a new context and how they use that knowledge to understand its challenges and guide learning in it.S,B,S propose evaluating transfer through what they call Preparing for Future Learning, or PFL, assessments. Such evaluations involve incorporating multiple opportunities to learn into assessment to determine how well a curriculum or other phenomenon prepares people for subsequent learning. They attend to transfer in and transfer out. For example, S,B,S compare how two curriculum designs prepare students to learn various memory theories. To do so, they had one group of students prepare to learn from a lecture by reading a summary of related material, while a second group prepared by analyzing data sets from relevant experiments. Using a test that asked students to predict the outcomes of related experiments and a true-false test on facts from the lecture. Based on students’ performance on these two tests, S,B,S found that analyzing the data sets prepared students to learn from the lecture more effectively than did reading the summary. Because they had a third group of students analyze two sets of data from related experiments and those students performed poorly on the tests, S,B,S knew that students in the data analysis + lecture group had learned from the combination of data analysis and lecture, rather than from the data analysis alone.Because PFL assessments focus on the use of interpretive knowledge to address new learning situations, they enable writing studies researchers and program assessors to evaluate students’ metacognition, specifically how they use writing studies conceptual and procedural knowledge to interpret the challenges involved in learning to produce unfamiliar genres and address new rhetorical situations. In the case study segment of our presentation, we’ll explain how the Wayne State program assessment uses the PFL approach in this way. We’ll also describe how we’re triangulating the data it generates with longitudinal data collection designed to reveal information about the individual and social contexts that shape students’ kind and level of transfer.
Of course, PFL assessments are only one type that helps evaluate interpretive knowledge, as well as transfer in and transfer out. Our case studies will discuss others. Here are a few examples.Next Kara and Liane will discuss using reflective assignments to promote transfer and evaluating the effect of such assignments.
Beach, K. (2003). Consequential transitions: a developmental view of knowledge propagation through social organizations. In T. E. Tuomi-Grohn, Yrjo (Ed.), Between school and work: New perspectives on boundary-crossing. . Boston, MA: Pergamon.Bransford, J. D., & Schwartz, D. L. (1999). Rethinking Transfer: A Simple Proposal with Multiple Implications. Review of Research in Education, 24, 61-100. Haskell, R. E. (2000). Transfer of Learning: Cognition and Instruction. New York: Academic Press.Loboto, J. (2003). How Design Experiments Can Inform a Rethinking of Transfer and Vice Versa. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 17-20. McKeough, A., Lupart, J. L., & Marini, A. (1995). Teaching for Transfer: Fostering Generalization in Learning. Mawah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.National, R. C. (1999). How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. . Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.Perkins, G. S. a. D. N. (1989). Rocky Roads to Transfer: Rethinking the Mechanisms of a Neglected Phenomenon. Educational Psychologist, 24(2), 113-142. Royer, J. M., Mestre, J. P., & Dufresne, R. J. (2005). Introduction: Framing the transfer problem. . Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Smit, D. (2007). The End of Composition studies. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.Tuomi-Grohn, T., & Engestrom, Yrjo (2003). Between school and work : new perspectives on transfer and boundary-crossing (1st ed.). . Boston, MA: Pergamon.
ASSESSING TRANSFER: USING REFLECTION TO EVALUATE TRANSFER OF KNOWLEDGE AT CRITICAL TRANSITIONS IN WRITING PROGRAMSB O B B R O A D , I L L I N O I S S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y H E I D I K E N A G A , W A Y N E S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y D A N A D R I S C O L L , O A K L A N D U N I V E R S I T Y J O S E P H P A S Z E K , W A Y N E S T A T E U N I V E R S I T YW E N D Y D U P R E Y , W A Y N E S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y L I A N E R O B E R T S O N , W I L L I A M P A T E R S O NU N I V E R S I T YG W E N G O R Z E L S K Y , W A Y N E S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y D A V I D S L O M P , U N I V E R S I T YO F L E T H B R I D G EJ A R E D G R O G A N , W A Y N E S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y K A R A T A C Z A K , U N I V E R S I T Y O F D E N V E RA D R I E N N E J A N K E N S , W A Y N E S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y T H O M A S T R I M B L E , W A Y N ES T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y
WORKSHOP OVERVIEW• Defining & assessing transfer• Key principles for measuring transfer• Case studies on assessing transfer• Working Groups • Critical transitions • Developing goals • Developing assessment plansTo access all workshop materials online:http://assessingtransfer.pbworks.com
BASIC DEFINITIONS• Smit (2007) argues that the ability to transfer knowledge is what the term “learning” actually means (p. 130).• The National Research Council (1999) argues that “The ultimate goal of learning is to have access to information for a wide set of purposes—that the learning will in some way transfer to other circumstances” (p. 61).• Other transfer terms: boundary crossing, knowledge building
TRADITIONAL COGNITIVE AND TASK- BASED TRANSFER• Definition: “The application of knowledge learned in one situation to a new situation.”• Research method: “improved performance on tasks” (primarily through experimental design)• Research questions: “Was transfer obtained? What conditions facilitate transfer?” (Loboto 2003)
Jimmy: Each situation is viewed as Jimmy unique and nothing is carried to the next situation. Rhetorical Product and Analysis Analysis of Genre Whitepaper Presidential Analysis in in Business Candidates FYC ClassBriel: Transfers knowledge Brielbetween tasks and buildsher knowledge of analysis.
CONTEXT-BASED TRANSFER (ACTIVITY THEORY) • Actor-Oriented Transfer focuses more on the context of learning and works within the realm of activity theoryDefinition: “The personal construction of relations of similarityacross activities (i.e., seeing situations as the same).”Research method: “Researchers look for the influence of prioractivity on current activity and how actors construe situations assimilar.”Research questions: “What relations of similarity are created?How are they supported by the environment?” (Loboto, 2003)
Briel American Civic Engagement Activity System FYC PoliticalActivity System Voting Activity System BUS300 Activity System University Activity System Jimmy
CONTEXTUAL-DISPOSITIONAL (HYBRID) APPROACHES• Wells and Driscoll (under review) argue that both task- based and contextual approaches are useful, but provide an incomplete picture of transfer.• Rather, they argue it is the intersection of the task, context, and the individual learner’s dispositions. These include: • motivation, self efficacy, help-seeking, willingness to engage in mindful abstraction, developing a metacognitive mindset, beliefs, attitudes etc.• This approach examines the relationship between learner, the task, and the context and is particularly useful to assessment.• Bio-ecological assessment can also fit within a hybrid approach (as described next)
BIO-ECOLOGICAL THEORY OF TRANSFERBronfenbrenner and Morris (2006); Slomp (2012) Dispositions Proximal Processes Resources • Processes through which Individual Transaction learning occurs (within local Demand environment) Characteristics
ASSESSING TRANSFERCHALLENGES AND CONSIDERATIONS
3 CHALLENGES1. Choosing a theory of transfer that captures a full picture of the factors that support or inhibit transfer.1. Defining/adopting a socially-situated construct model of writing ability.1. Overcoming technocentric limitations in current writing assessment practices
CHALLENGE 1:DEFINING A ROBUST THEORY OF TRANSFER
THEORIES OF TRANSFER• Clearly define how you are conceptualizing transfer: • The theory of transfer you adopt will determine your research/assessment focus.• Carefully consider which theory of transfer you base your assessment on. • Traditional conceptions of transfer have underrepresented what people know and are able to do (Schwartz, Bransford & Sears, 2005).
TASK-BASED CONCEPTION OF TRANSFER Task 2:Task 1: Complete Are students able to draw worksheetComplete on knowledge of comma requiring studentworksheet on rules developed in task 1 to properly insertrules for using to complete task 2? commas on acommas. page of unpunctuated sentences.
CONTEXTUAL THEORIES OF TRANSFERActivity Systems: (Wardle, 2007) Context 2: WritingContext 1:FYC Across the UniversityOrganization Do students perceive that what they learned in FYC has helped them with Students did notskills, process later writing assignments across the generalize fromknowledge, cr university? FYC because theitical How does the curriculum structurereading, subje activity system did influence generalization? not encouragect knowledge them to do so.
CONTEXTUAL THEORIES OF TRANSFER • Transformation and repurposing (Roozen, 2010)Context 1: Context 2:Religious Academicengagements engagements How does prior knowledgePrayer inform current practices? Notejournaling, ver How is prior knowledge taking, outlining, ase- repurposed when applied in nd organizingcopying, serm new contexts? academicon outlining arguments.
BIO-ECOLOGICAL THEORY OF TRANSFER Slomp and Sargent (2009, forthcoming) Context 2: Writing Across theContext 1: FYC University In what ways do characters of the Barriers to transferWriting process developing individual, proximalknowledge, m included: processes, and the ecologicaletacognitive systems in which students learn curriculumknowledge, di shape their capacity to structures, priorscourse generalize, repurpose and/or experience, persocommunity transfer knowledge about writing? nalityknowledge, issues, challenging home environments.
CONSTRUCT VALIDITY• The construct writing ability is defined through the lenses of developmental theories (Camp 2012): Syntactic Maturity = Complexity of syntactic constructions Stage models of = Cognitive maturation development Socially situated theories of = Discourse community writing knowledge & metacognitive knowledge
METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS• Writing assessment has traditionally been limited by its technocentric orientation (Huot 2002): • Emphasis on achieving high degrees of reliability • Constrained by reliance on current technologies of assessment
METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS• Assessment-as-research (Huot, 2002): • Focus on defining information needs • Choose assessment methodologies that help you achieve those information needs. • Shift away from technocentric views of reliability toward a rhetorical orientation (Parkes, 2007). • Emphasis on validity
Table 1 Overview of Ecological Assessment Design in Wardle and Roozen (2012) Assessment Focus MethodECOLOGICAL FYC Assessment Understand student performance and Student writing portfolios. Pre and post surveys ofASSESSMENT experience in FYC. FYC courses.DESIGN Ethnographic Assessment Develop a broad picture of students as literate Longitudinal case studies. learners.Wardle and Roozen Identify institutional(2012) structures that support or limit transfer. Writing Center Understand how tutoring Statistical analysis of user Tutorial Assessment supports transfer. data. Tutoring in the Understand how tutoring Class portfolios. Disciplines program is supporting Document analysis. Assessment student development. Observations of tutoring sessions. Interviews with students and teachers. Assessment of Understand how programs Development and Writing in Various are supporting student assessment of writing Majors development. related outcomes in the majors. General Education Assess student Eportfolios developed in Program Assessment development across their FYC and carried on undergraduate program. through undergraduate program.
METACOGNITION, TRANSFER, AND A NEW RESEARCH PARADIGM
TWO TYPES OF TRANSFER High Road Low Road• Results from mindful abstraction • Results from extended• Can occur quickly, without long- practice term practices • Spontaneous, automatic, wit• Example: applying the “count to h little need for reflective ten” rule learned in childhood to thinking inhibit tantrums during adulthood to prevent impulse buying • Example: driving a car to• Promotes greater driving a truck understanding, reflective • Increased speed and evaluation, and conscious efficiency adaptation of previously learned • Decreased long-term concepts and skills memory and analytic - Salomon and Perkins (1989) reflection • Potential for negative transfer
MINDFUL ABSTRACTIONAbstraction Mindful Abstraction• Identifying key qualities, • Using metacognitive attributes, or patterns thinking to decontextualize• Decontextualizing information to construct information and re- principles, patterns, strategi representing it as a set of es, or procedures principles or schemasMindfulness -- Salomon and Perkins (1989)• Thinking guided by metacognition and conscious reflection on target task, context, known strategies, and potential adaptations
PRINCIPLES FOR PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH METACOGNITION• Requiring students to actively monitor their learning• Providing feedback on students’ use of new knowledge• Showing contrasting cases to highlight key features• Foregrounding the transfer potential of new knowledge• Teaching new knowledge in multiple contexts• Moving from specific to general levels• Helping students abstract principles• Balancing specific examples with general principles - --National Research Council (1999)
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONReflection – both a theory and a practice:• From the work of Schon – on reflective practitioners• From the work of Yancey – students as agents in their own learning process
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONReflection’s Connection to Transfer: Our Starting Point• Significant research on each separately• Absence of research that explicitly explores reflection’s connection to transfer• Beaufort’s knowledge domains - reflection discussed as important for metacognition but not explicitly pursued• Schon and Yancey - reflection both theory/practice
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONReflection’s Relationship to Transfer:• Kara’s Research: questions whether or not reflection is one of the vehicles by which students transfer knowledge and practices of writing to other academic writing situations.• Liane’s Research: questions which content transfers effectively and how reflection as a reiterative practice fosters the transfer of that content.
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONDefinition of Reflection:• We define as: systematic, explicit, intentional• Both an intellectual act and a physical act • aligns with Perkins and Salomon’s claim that “conditions of a classroom affect transfer” • aligns with the notion of mindful abstraction – active self- monitoring arouses mindfulness• Students’ ability to monitor their own thinking processes is what leads to mindful abstraction – alertness to the activity in which they are engaged
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONPractice of Reflection:• We use reflection as: reiterative practice • by which students learn to define and apply their own theory of writing as a way to foster transfer of knowledge and practices from one academic writing situation to another.• Theory of Writing – main reflective practice for our FYC course • Students create a framework of writing knowledge • Students begin to develop metacognitive ability
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONOur Theory of Writing Component:• Systematic, explicit, intentional • Explicitly encourages transfer • Asks students to be mindful about what they are learning • Reiterative assignment feature - ten writing assignments related to theory of writing throughout the semester• Combines learning about writing theory, through a set of key terms and through reading reflective theory, with the practice of systematic, explicit, intentional reflection
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTION1. Begins As 3. Ends As• Practice more than • Metacognitive thinking; theory Abstraction• Not mindful • Development of a theory of• No abstraction, direct writing knowledge and application practice2. Progresses Toward• Increased active self- 4. Continues As monitoring • Application of knowledge• Key terms understood as and practice in new writing writing concepts contexts• Mindfulness develops
PROMOTING TRANSFER THROUGH REFLECTIONSample Reflective Activities:• Early Guided Reflection• Reiterative Reflection
MOTIVATION AND DISPOSITIONS Factors Teaching Approaches• Task difficulty level • Devising challenging• Perceived relevance but do-able• Performance vs. assignments learning orientation • Designing tasks that -- National Research Council (1999) demonstrate relevance • Providing social support for risk-taking
DEVELOPING THE NEW RESEARCH PARADIGM: INTEGRATING INDIVIDUAL, SOCIAL, AND DEVELOPMENTAL ASPECTSPreparing for Future Learning PFL Enables Writing Studies (PFL) Researchers to: • Evaluate students’• Focusing on Interpretive metacognition in relation to Knowledge writing studies conceptual• Evaluating Interpretive and procedural knowledge Knowledge • Evaluate how students use this knowledge to learn• Incorporating opportunities about unfamiliar genres and for learning into assessment rhetorical situations• Focusing on both “transfer • Triangulate data from in” and “transfer out” assessments of individual -- Schwartz, Bransford, and Sears (2005) factors like dispositions and motivations and of social factors like curriculum
DEVELOPING THE NEW RESEARCH PARADIGM: INTEGRATING INDIVIDUAL, SOCIAL, AND DEVELOPMENTAL ASPECTS• Pre- and post-semester surveys evaluating students’ motivation and dispositions related to writing instruction• Text-based interviews that ask students to describe their drafting choices, particularly the conceptual and procedural knowledge they used• Textual analyses comparing discourse features of students’ reflective writing with those of their academic writing• Textual analyses of students’ reflective writing on their uses of conceptual and procedural knowledge about writing.
• Tasks used and knowledge required • Learners’ priorASSESSINGTRANSFER experiences andDevelop a dispositionshybrid, locally focusedmodel that takes intoaccount all of the • Classroom and curricular contextsfactors affectingtransfer.
REFERENCESDriscoll, D. and Wells, J. (under review). Toward a Dispositional Model of Writing Transfer: The Impact of the Individual Learner.Loboto, J. (2003). How Design Experiments Can Inform a Rethinking of Transfer and Vice Versa. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 17-20.National, R. C. (1999). How people learn: brain, mind, experience, and school. . Washington D.C.: National Academy Press.Royer, J. M., Mestre, J. P., & Dufresne, R. J. (2005). Introduction: Framing the transfer problem. . Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.Salomon. D. N., and Perkins, G. S. a (1989). Rocky Roads to Transfer: Rethinking the Mechanisms of a Neglected Phenomenon. Educational Psychologist, 24(2), 113-142.Smit, D. (2007). The End of Composition studies. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.Tuomi-Grohn, T., & Engestrom, Yrjo (2003). Between school and work : new perspectives on transfer and boundary-crossing (1st ed.). . Boston, MA: Pergamon.