Transfer: Using Learning in New Contexts

Front Cover
The literature on the extent to which knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in one area transfer to another was reviewed for the purpose of identifying issues that policymakers and providers of vocational education should consider when planning programs to prepare students for further education and life. The review focused on the following issues: (1) whether training for transfer makes a difference; (2) the importance of context-specific knowledge in development of expertise; (3) factors that facilitate or inhibit transfer of training (motivation, confidence, original learning, prior knowledge, repeated practice, varied practice, prompting, task similarity, task familiarity, cognitive processing, feedback, and ability); (4) techniques of teaching for transfer (understanding how students learn, protecting traditional disciplines and knowledge bases, helping students make connections, teaching students to manipulate information, providing authentic learning experiences, providing opportunities for active participation, teaching for transferability of generic skills, and teaching for transfer of dispositional knowledge); and (5) models of testing for transfer by assessing cognitive skill. Overall, the studies reviewed presented a case for explicit teaching of transfer skills where teaching takes into account the importance of prior and context-specific knowledge. (Appended are information about various mechanisms promoting transfer of learning and techniques for measuring cognitive skill development. Contains 85 references.) (MN)

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