Transfer of learning
Transfer of learning refers to a situation where learning (in the sense of knowledge, skills, or modes of thought) acquired in one context (which we call the learning context) are applied in another (ostensibly different) context (which we call the transfer context).
The extent to which transfer of learning occurs is a major determinant of the value of learning something.
Taxonomy of forms of transfer of learning
|Classification||Relevant criterion||More on the terms|
|near versus far||the extent of overlap between the learning.||Near denotes significant overlap, far denotes negligible overlap.|
|positive versus negative||whether the learning in the learning context helps or hinders performance in the transfer context.||Positive indicates that it helps, negative indicates that it hinders.|
|vertical versus horizontal||the extent to which the transfer context builds on, or depends upon, the learning context.||Vertical indicates that the transfer context builds on the learning context, whereas horizontal suggests that there are similarities between the learning context and transfer context, but no dependence in either direction.|
|literal versus figural||the extent to which the knowledge being used needs to be modified or customized to the new context.||Literal indicates that intact knowledge transfers to the new task, figural indicates that the learning context helps with general skills to help tackle the transfer context.|
|low road versus high road||the extent of automaticity with which the knowledge is transfered.||Low road indicates that the knowledge is transfered automatically and subconsciously, high road indicates that connections need to be consciously formulated for successful transfer.|
|(within high road): forward reaching versus backward reaching||the direction in which one reasons between the learning context and the transfer context.||Forward reaching means abstracting the situation from the learning context to a potential transfer context, backward reaching means abstracting in the transfer context features of a previous situation where new skills and knowledge were learned.|