SI 643 Reflection of Reading:Transfer

12 Feb
As authors of How People Learn claim, a major goal of schooling is to prepare students for flexible adaptation to new problems and settings (Bransford et al, 2000, p.77). Therefore, promoting the transfer of learning from one context to new contexts is a fundamental task of teaching. According to academics researches, the transfer of learning has three distinctive characteristics.

First, initial learning is necessary for transfer. Students need to gain enough knowledge before they can apply their knowledge to new context. Second, contextualized knowledge is helpful to students, but it should be noted that overly contextualized knowledge can harm students’ ability to transfer from one context to new context. Third, transfer can be improved by helping students become more aware of themselves as learners who actively monitor their learning strategies and resources and assess their readiness for particular tests and performances.

To teachers, however, promoting transfer is not a easy task even when they know well about the aforementioned principles of transfer. Students’ ability to transfer their knowledge can be hindered by previous experience and cultural difference. What is a suitable amount of motivation to promote transfer and how much environment gap there is between school and home are not easily identifiable. Moreover, individual students have different personal backgrounds.

In this sense, Wiggins and McTighe (2008)’s 12 steps of meaning making and transfer proceeding instruction can be very useful to improve students’ metacognition that help transfer their learning from one context to new context. In addition, I personally think that providing multiple contexts in each class will really help stimulate students’ metacognition and thus conduct transfer (Please see my posting of “the reflection of reading week 1”. In the posting, I offered my experience in which students did not understand properly the pros and cons of political system in various countries until I provided multiple cases).

However, In a typical one-time workshop carried by a library, it may be difficult to follow all of Wiggins and McTighe’s instruction due to time limitation. But I believe that this method can be still applicable to a one-time workshop. We can focus on part of Wiggins and McTighe’s instruction that can best meet the needs of targeted students when we design a one-time workshop. For example, suppose there will be a workshop on Excel in public library. An instructor will teach how to use Excel but also she can get students work together on some exemplary tasks in class and give them tasks based on their own needs. So even after a one-time workshop, students would be able to use Excel skill in their own project and may come back to the instructor in order to get her advices for their future tasks.
1 Comment

Posted by on February 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


One response to “SI 643 Reflection of Reading:Transfer

  1. leahthelibrarian

    February 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I think you make a really good point about the one-time workshop in a library. In that case, there will be a very diverse group of people who want to learn Excel for very different reasons. While that can hinder the transfer by creating a schism of prior knowledge and understanding, it can also provide an opportunity for sharing ideas and giving examples of where and how to use Excel in unexpected ways.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: