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Unformatted text preview: blems as being soluble by the application of arithmetic, causes
him to classify the problem as a situation requiring arithmetic operations. In both cases
how the problem is conceptualized is dependent on the knowledge the learner brings to
the problem situation. In other words the creation of the problem space depends on the
process of transfer.
Learning as an Example of Problem Solving
Classroom learning can be viewed as an extremely important problem solving
activity for students. Thinking about classroom learning as an exercise in problem 7
solving highlights the importance of transfer to the learning processes. As with all
problem situations, the students’ perception of the goals and givens of the learning
activity will be influenced by their previous experience with similar activities. For
instance, students’ knowledge of how they will be assessed may influence how they
perceive the goal of a learning activity and, therefore, what they actually think about and
do while engaged in that learning activity. Learners who believe they are going to be
assessed by a multiple-choice test may approach the particular learning activity
differently than learners who believe they will be assessed by an essay examination.
Likewise, learners’ knowledge of learning techniques and strategies will influence how
they study. To learn successfully, learners must transfer what they know about
themselves as learners, learning strategies, classroom dynamics, and the special
requirements of various learning tasks to the current learning experience. Helping
learners succeed requires that students acquire and transfer the types of metacognitive
knowledge necessary to learn how to learn.
To summarize, transfer affects performance in many situations. As we complete
mundane, day-to-day activities, our performance is affected by the concepts and skills we
have previously learned. When novelty or complexity causes us to categorize a situation
as a problem, a successful solution will typically depend on our ability to transfer what
knowledge and skills acquired from previous experiences. Finally when we are faced
with a learning task, the way we approach the task and how well we learn will also be
determined by our ability to transfer and apply our prior knowledge. In the remainder of
this chapter, we will discuss how the theoretical principles presented in Chapters 2
through 6 may be applied to enhance transfer in and out of your classroom. 8
Behavioral Learning Theory and Transfer
Behavioral views of transfer are primarily an application of Principle 2.3:
Learning results from the effects of stimuli on responses. The goal is to create
learning environments that increase the likelihood that students will emit a behavior when
environments containing similar stimuli are encountered. Thorndike’s concept of
identical elements and Engleman’s and Carnine’s work on inductive approaches to
concept leaning provide examples of behavioral approaches to teaching for transfer...
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- Spring '08