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Unformatted text preview: t his ball only putters a few feet from the tee. On his
next try he makes good contact with the ball, but it hooks sharply and flies deep into the
woods along the fairway.
Emily’s cooking class has been given the assignment of baking one dozen
chocolate chip cookies. The problem is that the receipt is for making 30 cookies. She
quickly calculates that 12/30th is the same as 2/5th and adjusts the receipt accordingly. She
thinks to herself, “This is just like what we do in chemistry class when we mix up 28
solutions with different concentrations.” As she looks around the room at her classmates
she is surprised to see that many are having difficulty.
In Allen’s case his perception is that baseball and golf are similar because they
both have a ball and a stick. He is focusing on the surface features of the situation. The
relationships, the way the golf club is held compared to a baseball bat, the motion
involved in a proper swing is different for the two situations. Therefore, Allen is
experiencing negative transfer.
Emily’s classmates are focusing on the surface features of the cooking task,
resulting in their failure to remember the appropriate information about proportions.
However, Emily’s focus on the similar underlying relationships between chemistry and
cooking class allows her to make an appropriate response to her cooking assignment,
even though the similarity between the surface features of the two activities is low.
Emily’s response is an example of far transfer.
There are a number potential implications from the expert novice research for
helping students develop a meaningful knowledge base that can be transferred to different
situations. First, it should be noted that the development of an expert knowledge base is a
lengthy and often effortful process (Norman, 1988). Students will need multiple
exposures to a knowledge domain over time. Also, these exposures should help students
identify key principles and concepts, their relationships to each other, and their
relationships to various types of problems. Knowledge should be taught in terms of its
connection to previous learning and its application in multiple settings, 29
Transfer of Procedural Knowledge
Meaningfulness is also important when learning transferable skills. When students
learn skills in a rote fashion they are less likely to use those skills in appropriate
situations, and are more likely to apply the skills in inappropriate situations (Singley and
Anderson, 1989). There are a number of considerations in helping students learn skills in
a meaningful fashion.
Initial learning stages. With regard to transfer, the early (cognitive) stages of
learning a skill are especially critical (Singley & Anderson 1989, Sweller, 1989).
According to information-processing theory, a new skill begins as declarative knowledge
(Anderson, 1983; Fitts and Posner, 1967). It is during the cognitive stage, that the
learners form a schema representing not only the nature of the skill, but also when and
why the skill should be applied. The development of this declara...
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- Spring '08