First we must consider if the person perceives

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Unformatted text preview: both the stimuli and responses involved in the learning and transfer situations. Figure 8.2 (appears at the end of the chapter) shows a flow chart summarizing Osgood’s reasoning. First we must consider if the person perceives similarity between the stimuli presented in the learning and performance situations. If no similarity is perceived, no transfer occurs. If similarity is perceived, then transfer can occur. Next we must consider whether or not the response learned is appropriate for the performance situation. If the learned response is appropriate, then positive transfer is likely, but if the learned response is inappropriate, then negative transfer will occur. Lets consider a Mary’s situation again as she visits Madrid Spain with her French club. 12 ⇒ While in Madrid, Mary and her friends are invited to a party at the home of some friends of their Chaperone. Mary is excited to meet and speak with some Spanish kids her own age, so armed with her travel guides she practices her Spanish phraseology and vocabulary. At the party Mary is excited by how much of the conversation she is able to understand. However, when she tries to speak, she finds that she keeps inserting French words into the conversation, even when she knows the correct Spanish words. One of her new Spanish friends even remarks that she speaks Spanish with a French accent. How might Osgood’s description of the causes of positive and negative transfer be used to explain Mary’s experience? The answer to the first question on the flow chart of Figure 8.2 is yes. The stimuli, French and Spanish share many similarities. However, the answer to the second question is no. Mary’s automatic responses, the sounds she attaches to letters and the way she pronounces words, is inappropriate. In summary, Thorndike’s ideas about teaching for transfer seem most helpful for when we teach behaviors that have specific and probably limited applications. He would suggest that we teach students the specific behaviors they will need to apply in the transfer situations, and that we try to make learning environments very similar to transfer environments. For example, if I an teaching a business computing course in high school, I would teach students how to use a spreadsheet with examples they are likely to encounter in the workplace. Also, the programs and machines they are exposed to in the classroom would be the ones they are likely to use at work. Osgood’s work implies that students 13 practice a behavior with specific information about when that behavior is useful and when it is not, and that students should be reinforced for using a behavior correctly. Generalization, Discrimination and Transfer In the terminology of behavioral learning theory, appropriate transfer could be viewed as a balance between the processes of generalization and discrimination. In Chapter 2 we defined generalization as making the same response to similar situations; discrimination was defined as making different responses to similar situations. Positive transfer occurs when learners are able to generalize a response appropriately from the learning situation to t...
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