Unformatted text preview: is perspective has been critiqued on the grounds of
both research and anecdotal evidence to the contrary. There are multiple examples of
knowledge being transferred outside of the situation in which it was acquired (Anderson,
Reder, & Simon, 1997; Moore, 1998).
A second perspective on transfer is that situating learning in context enhances the
possibility of teaching students transferable cognitive strategies and skills (Hendricks,
2001). From this perspective, it would be argued that because students are actively
learning by doing and because the classroom imitates real-world application settings,
transfer of the learned strategies or skills to real-world settings is more likely. However,
one of the concerns with situating the learning of skills and strategies in a particular
context is that the learning may become too closely associated with that context. The
potential problem is that if the learning is overly contextualized, learners may fail to
transfer that learning to relevant but somewhat dissimilar contexts (Bransford, Brown, &
Cocking, 2000; Griffin, 1995). For example if strategies are associated with the solution
of a particular problem in a particular setting, they may not be applied in different
settings or with related but different problems. One of the ways to address this issue is to 48
vary the problem contexts used to introduce strategies to students so that they can see
how these strategies can transfer.
A third perspective is that situating cognition allows students to understand the
structures of participation for a particular social context that may transfer to other
contexts (Greeno, 1997; Greeno, Moore, & Smith, 1993). For example, students may
acquire understandings of the routines of collaborative work or how information is
accessed during collaborative scientific research. As a result, students learn to be more
successful participants in that context. These understandings would transfer to the extent
that they are generally applicable to other contexts, or to the extent that they can be
modified successfully for other contexts (Greeno, 1997).
Both the goal of teaching transferable learning strategies and patterns of
participation are present in the design of the Communities of Learners model, which is an
example of both situated and distributed cognition. It provides a reasonable example of
how transfer might be addressed from this perspective.
Communities of learners and transfer.
A community of learners is defined by a distribution of expertise among the
community members (Brown and Campione, 1994). In other words, no one member of a
group has all the knowledge and skills necessary to reach the group’s objectives. Learners
and teachers must also acquire the necessary participation activities and structures to
collaborate as problem-solvers. Additionally, another purpose for situating and
distributing cognition in this model is to help students acquire transferable learning how
to learn strategies. 49
The Community of Learners model has a number of parti...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.
- Spring '08