The objective of education is to use the skill and knowledge learnt to function effectively in the society. Therefore, learning which cannot be used outside the school is futile. In recent times, the school curriculum is fashioned in line with problems of the society. Children attend school so that on graduation, they will employ the skills acquired to better the lots of the society. Any educational system, whose products cannot tackle the problems of its society, could be termed a failure. For example, students learn mathematics on the assumption that they will apply the knowledge, skills and information to solve problems relating to mathematics in the society such as buying and selling. Also, students learn the English language so that they can communicate effectively inside and outside the school. Students who aspire to study Law must be good in English language; likewise those who aspire to study Engineering must be good in physics and mathematics. For effective propagation of knowledge, what is learnt in the classroom must be used to solve problems outside the classroom and this can only be achieved through definite transfer of learning. That almost magical link between classroom performance and something which is supposed to happen in the real world is referred to as transfer of learning/training. The first place to practice transfer of learning is within the classroom. This makes it much easier to transfer new skills and knowledge to the job. Transfer of learning is the influence of prior learning on performance in a new situation. If we did not transfer some of our skills and knowledge from prior learning, then each new learning situation would start from scratch.
THE CONCEPT OF TRANSFER OF LEARNING
Transfer of learning or training can be defined as when the knowledge or skill acquired in one task or situation can be applied in another task or situation. The emphasis here is that the knowledge or skill is not applied in the same situation or task. Child (1981) defines transfer of learning, as the ability to apply the skills one has learnt in one situation to another similar situation. So what is learnt in one situation is likely to affect other situations. Transfer of learning helps the individual to recognize objectives, perceive relationships, and reap the benefit of past experiences. Ekstrand (1985) defines it as “the effect of prior learning on the subsequent performance of a different task”. Ellis cited in Akinade(2002) defined it as the ability of a learner to use the knowledge gained at initial learning in solving subsequent problems in situations different from the original learning. It is the application of previous knowledge or experience, skill and responses to treat or solve a fresh problem a learner meets in class or out of the school setting. Chauhan (1983) writing on the concept of transfer defines it as “the application or carry-over of knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes or other responses from the situation in which they were initially acquired to some other situations for which they were not specifically learned”. The product of learning is described as the capability to perform certain behaviours in a given situation, which was not possible prior to learning (Koko 2006). Thus we can say that behavioural performance is an indicator of learning. Anytime anyone improves, he is showing evidence of transfer. Determining if and to what extent a person can transfer their learned knowledge can be a strong indication of the quality of the learning experience itself. Effective memorization of information does not equal a meaningful learning experience, because the knowledge acquired might not be understood. The ability to understand and apply learning implies a deeper knowledge gained. Transfer of learning/training is therefore effectively and continuing applying the skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes that were learned in a learning environment to the job environment.