Transfer of Training and Problem Solving

Topics: Problem solving, Learning, Educational psychology Pages: 6 (2162 words) Published: May 8, 2013
From a cognitive perspective, analyze the effect of transfer of training on problem solving. Evaluate the impact of near transfer and far transfer in any one applied area. What is Transfer?
Transfer is defined as the application of skill or knowledge gained in one situation in the performance of a new, novel task (Pennington, Nicolich & Rahm, 1995). Whenever knowledge previously acquired influences current learning, transfer as occurred (Woolfolk, 1995). For example, learning to get along with family members may prepare an individual to interact in a positive way with peers, learning to drive a car helps to prepare for learning to drive a van later, learning mathematics prepares for the study of physics and chess players may even become better strategic thinkers in business (Perkins & Salomon, 1992). Transfer of training is based on the concept of transfer of learning, which occurs when information or skills learned at one place and time is used in another setting (Eggen & Kauchak, 1994). In a way, any learning requires a degree of transfer, that is, transfer is always unreservedly contrastive: it assumes learning within a specific context and enquires about impact beyond that context (Perkins & Salomon, 1992). There are three main types of transfer: positive transfer, negative transfer and zero transfer. Positive transfer is defined as the subsequent learning aided by prior learning (Biehler & Snowman, 1990). For example, people who are proficient in more than one language may find it easier to learn a new language than unilingual individuals (Perkins & Salomon, 1992). The effect of past learning on present learning is not always positive, and past learning can cause the attempt to apply previously learned but unsuitable methods to a new situation (Woolfolk, 1995). The attempt to apply strategies that are familiar but inappropriate to a new situation is known as negative transfer (Woolfolk, 1995), that is, negative transfer hinders the acquisition of new knowledge due to familiarity of pre-learned skills, knowledge or information. While negative transfer can be a problematic phenomenon of learning, it typically only causes problems in the early stages of learning in a new domain and with experience, learners correct for the effects of negative transfer (Perkins & Salomon, 1992). Zero transfer is when previous knowledge has neither a positive nor negative effect on current knowledge, for example a student learned a technique in maths but did not apply it to a physics problem which could be solved with this method (Eggen & Kauchak, 1994). Transfer can also be further divided into near transfer and far transfer. Near transfer refers to transfer between similar contexts, whereas far transfer describes transfer between contexts that at first seem to be completely different or at least, only slightly similar (Perkins & Salomon, 1992). Near transfer is observed far more frequently than far transfer, and it is also seen to occur more readily than far transfer (Tomic, 1995). There is no formal measure for transfer difference; however it is a useful idea in understanding different transfer occurrences (Woltz, Gardner & Gyll, 2000). In order for transfer to occur, certain conditions are necessary, such as, thorough and diverse practice, explicit abstraction, active self monitoring, arousing mindfulness and use of metaphors or analogy (Perkins & Salomon, 1992). Thorough and diverse practice refers to intensive and extensive practice, which creates routine expertise, which is based on procedural knowledge (Guberman & Greenfield, 1991). Luria (1976, in Perkins & Salomon, 1992) found that there was major influence on a number of cognitive measures regarding literacy in a population where reading and writing played multiple roles, demonstrating the necessity of thorough and diverse practice. Explicit abstraction is sometimes necessary for transfer to occur and refers...
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