Title Layout - Virtual University of Pakistan

Title Layout - Virtual University of Pakistan

LECTURE 11 TRANSFER OF LEANING AND INSTRUCTION SADIA BASHIR M . A , M . P H I L ( E L M ) , M . P H I L ( E D U C AT I O N ) Learning Objectives 1. Define transfer of learning and its educational significance 2. Describe theories of transfer of learning 3. Explain various kinds of transfer 4. Describe specific strategies used in teaching for transfer Definitio n Transfer of learning has been defined by Mayer and

Wittrock as "whenever something previously learnt influences current learning or when solving an earlier problem affects how you solve a new problem." Significance Teaching should be organized in such a way that students can independently apply their knowledge, skills and attitudes learnt in schools to similar but new situations in schools and out of school. The aim of education is to make students independent and autonomous learners and problem solvers. It is a valuable goal cherished by almost all educators and educational philosophers. Jerome Bruner in his 'Process of Education' observes that learning should not only take us somewhere but also should allow us later to go further more easily .... it should serve us in future. Generally, students assume that the only reason for classroom learning is to pass exams and earn good grades. Teachers sometimes

unintentionally create this understanding in students. Significance Resultantly, the student forgets what was learnt after receiving a grade but also avoids anything to do with what was learnt in schools. This is highly unfortunate. Teachers should, therefore, make a conscious effort to emphasize the value of each lesson and reveal its importance in further student learning and living. Teacher should also ensure while teaching that learning is not tied to the specific context but is generalized and applied to other similar situation situations. He should enable the students 'see' that new knowledge is not welded to a given situation but applicable to a variety of situations. He must also plan for transfer while planning for instruction. Before giving a few concrete teaching suggestions for transfer of learning, the nature of transfer has to be explained in the light of available psychological

knowledge about this phenomenon. Theories of Transfer of Learning (1) The Doctrine of Formal Discipline During early 1900s, such subjects as Latin, Greek and Geometry were taught because these were considered difficult to learn; It was expected that by learning these subjects, students would improve ability to memorize, think and reason. These enhanced abilities were then expected to facilitates learning less difficult subjects. Theories of Transfer of Learning (1) The Doctrine of Formal Discipline

The rationale behind this practice was that human mind could be made stronger with mental exercise like body muscles that are made stronger with physical exercise. The researchers lent limited support to this early explanation of transfer of learning. Studying Latin and Greek results in better subsequent learning in Latin and Greek (specific transfer) but does not contribute to learning other subjects (general transfer) which was claimed by it. Theories of Transfer of Learning (2) The Theory of Identical Elements In early 1900s, Thorndike and Woodworth proposed an alternative behavioral explanation of how transfer occurs. They argued that the degree to which knowledge and skills acquired in learning one task can help depends on how similar the two tasks are.

If the learner recognizes the similarities between task's stimulus and response elements as in riding a bicycle and a motorcycle, the greater will be the amount of transfer. This idea is known as the theory of identical. elements. Types of Transfer of Learning Thorndike and other psychologists have also identified different types of transfer and the conditions under which each type occurs. A useful distinction is made between positive transfer, negative transfer and zero transfer. Positive transfer is defined as a situation in which previous

POSITIVE TRANSFER learning helps subsequent learning. Positive transfer occurs when a new learning task calls for essentially the same response that was made to a similar, earlier learnt task stimulus. The person who is fluent in French, for instance, is likely to learn Spanish more easily. Types of Positive Transfer

The description of positive transfer, through useful, is somewhat limiting because it is not clear whether the transfer from one task to the other is due to specific or general factors. Positive transfer may, therefore, be specific or general. Specific Transfer: Specific transfer is that positive transfer which is due to specific similarities between the two tasks, for example, similarities in French and Spanish language in vocabulary,structure sentence, etc. Specific positive transfer occurs when two

tasks are similar in nature. General transfer is that positive transfer which is due to use of some General Transfer learning strategies such as elaboration, imagery and mnemonic devices. For example, learning a foreign language helps learning another foreign language because the general learning strategies are the same. Still another useful distinction is

made by Gagne, that is, vertical transfer and lateral transfer. Vertical transfer is that positive transfer which occurs when Vertical previously learnt capability helps in learning more complex Transfer material in the same area. For example, learning to determine different types of triangles helps in

forming the concept of equilateral Lateral transfer is that positive transfer when a previous learnt Lateral Transfer capability is used in solving a similar problem in a different context. For example, previously learnt rules and procedures for conducting experiments in Physics are used to conduct experiments in Biology. Lateral transfer is essentially the same as general transfer. Both involve using the cognitive

strategies. Negative transfer is defined as Negative Transfer a situation in which prior learning interferes with subsequent learning. Negative transfer occurs when two tasks are highly similar but require different responses, for example, pronouncing the words that spell alike but are pronounced differently.

Zero transfer is defined as a Zero situation is which previous learning has no effect on Transfer subsequent, new learning. Zero transfer occurs when two tasks have different stimuli and different responses. (3) The Cognitive View of

Transfer This view of transfer emphasizes the role of comprehension and memory in transfer of learning and is based on information' processing theory of learning. According to information processing theory, we store and retrieve information in memory in a highly systematic fashion. The storage and retrieval processes are strongly influenced by comprehension. Comprehension is learner's ability to relate new information to previously acquired knowledge. Previously acquired knowledge exists in memory in the form of schemata (mental representations of relationships among objects and events). A schema is a structure with many slots for people, objects and events. In the cognitive view, transfer of learning involves activation of previously acquired schema when one encounters a new learning situation. If the activated schema is appropriate for the new task, learning could .occur more readily. If the new information does not match one of slots in the schema, learning becomes

difficult. (4) A Contemporary View of Transfer of Learning Saloman and Perkins describe two kinds of transfer, that is lowroad and high-road transfer. Low-Road Transfer Low-road transfer is theautomatic transfer of highly practiced skills with little need of reflection. The performance becomes automatic. For example, practice with many machines allows one to transfer that skill automatically to a new situation. (4) A Contemporary View of Transfer of Learning High-Road Transfer High-road transfer, on the other hand, is the conscious application of knowledge in one situation to

different situations. High-road transfer may be forward reaching or backward-reaching transfer. In forward-reaching transfer, one looks forward to applying the knowledge gained. Backward-reaching transfer occurs when facing a problem, one looks back on what was learned in other situations to help solve the new problem. For positive transfer to occur, students must see similar elements in both Teaching situations and must grasp the original material fully. If algebra is intended to

for Transfer be used in Physics and Chemistry, the students should demonstrate this transfer in science classes. Here are few general teaching suggestions to help students appreciate the value of transfer: 1. Teach to Overlearning: Overlearning means practicing a skill above the point of mastery. Many basic facts and skills are learnt in elementary classes by

students such as multiplication tables past the point of mastery which help them in using the information quickly and automatically when needed. 2. Be certain that the material taught is well organized. Meaningful material is more easily transferred. If the students recognize the organization and structure of the

material and if teachers can make them realize it, students will discover principles and generalizations, which they can use in many different situations. For example, the Social Studies teacher can select an episode in freedom movement and encourage them to seek a contemporary example. When a teacher is about to teach abstract material, it may be useful to provide the students with advanced organizers. 3. Used

advanced organizers An advanced organizer is an abstract, general overview of new information to be learnt that is presented by the teacher as introduction in advance of actual teaching. It serves as a bridge between what the students already know and what they need to know. For example, the students already know the idea of loyalty to their friends in order to understand the abstract notion of loyalty given in the reading material. The introduction in the form of advanced organizer is intended to provide the hooks

and prepare the students' mind to incorporate and learn the new material. The new material, thus, becomes potentially.. meaningful to them. 4. Emphasize the similarities between classroom work and transfer situation, between learning in schools and life outside While teaching reading, for instance,

teachers must be sure that letters and words they teach them same have the form that youngsters will see in their books. Similarly, while teaching word problems in mathematics, terms from Physics and Chemistry may be used. Show how the skills learned in school will be used in hobbies and jobs outside schools. Identifying the important features of a task helps students transfer these 5. Specify what is important in

the task elements or the guide them against potential difficulties. For example, students frequently confuse b and d. Teachers should stress the distinction and give them considerable experience with words containing these letters. Students mostly forget to change the signs (+,-) while transposing terms in equations. Call attention of the students to the required change of sign. Summarization, relating the new materials with the known, forming visual representation of the textual content, helping students to analyze questions

6. Teach learning and comprehension strategies to combat forgetting and promote transfer carefully in order to answer and asking the students to formulate questions and to integrate the content are a few comprehension strategies that also help in transfer of learning. To have something to transfer, students must first. learn and thoroughly understand it. Periodic reviews (soon after learning and at short

intervals, gradually widening the length of time between reviews) and distributed practice sessions (initially short practice periods, followed by longer practice periods) and by individualizing practice sessions also help in overlearning, comprehension and transfer. 7. Try to understand how students perceive the importance of transfer Make every effort to keep students understand the importance of transfer. Is it meaningful to them? Do they see how they can use the

material in different circumstances? Teachers should see their teaching and the subject matter from students point of view and offer more practical possibilities for transfer. From the above, it is evident that positive transfer of learning does not occur automatically. It requires conscious efforts by teachers in order to ensure transfer of principles, attitudes, thinking ability, learning and problem solving strategies.' Teachers should promote positive transfer and overcome negative transfer. They must deliberately ensure different kinds of positive transfer: specific and--general; vertical and lateral, lowroad and high-road and overcome negative transfer by using over learning, improving understanding, emphasizing similarities and

differences, teaching comprehensive strategies and increasing the value of transfer in student minds. ALLAH BLESS YOU ALL

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