Educational Psychology: What are some of the Aspects of Transfer of Learning?

Chapter Five 

Transfer of Learning

5a ii). Examine some of the Aspects Of Transfer of Learning

Aspects Of Transfer

There are two basic aspects of transfer. These are:

  • Discrimination.
  • Generalization.

 

  •  Discrimination

When the learner is exposed to knowledge or skills that are similar he should understand all the specific features so that he applies in each situation only those aspects that are applicable and leaves out those features that are not applicable. Ivan Pavlov illustrated the idea of discrimination when conditioning dogs to respond to bell tones. In discrimination training he would give the dog food only under one particular tone and not any similar tone. Then the dog learned that only one tone led to food and therefore it salivated only when that particular tone was presented. Likewise when it comes to transfer of learning the pupil should be able to pick out specific features from the general features and use them. A good illustration here is the use of the following documents: the dictionary, the catalogue and the directory. These documents have general and specific features; the general features are found in the arrangement of content. All documents have their contents arranged alphabetically and therefore require the same skill in their usage.

However the aspect of discrimination comes in when we consider the type of information found in each document. When we want to look up meanings of words we pick out the dictionary. When we wish to get some address or telephone number we pick out the dictionary and when we wish to locate some basic information of books available in a library we go for the catalogue. In bakery too discrimination can be applied. There are general guidelines that are used to produce bread or cakes but when the baker wants to bake bread with raisins or fruitcake or even teacake he applies very specific features by using discrimination.

Discrimination is an aspect used every day in computer programming. There are general features and specific features in computer operations for example; all computer programs have an interaction interface. These are specific features like calculations, typing documents carrying out simulations and so on. It is the user who determines the specific feature to use depending on the task to be performed.

Discrimination, as we have noted, requires the ability to pick out the difference, i.e. what we apply in a specific situation and what not to. This involves the understanding of specific features.

  •  Generalization

This means understanding the general features, the similarities or sameness of information or skills. For example: the dictionary, directory and catalogue are similar in the information is arranged alphabetically. These documents use the same skills to search for information but the similarity ends there. In baking there are similar procedures of making ingredients and using baking pans and ovens for the product. In computer operations the skills used to open the computer and to access information is the same. In generalization therefore, the learner understands the general features.

Pavlov conditioned dogs to acquire generalization training. He would call different tones and give the dog food every time a tone was sounded. This dog knew that as long as there was a tone no matter which one food was on the way. Similarly, learners can acquire generalization in transfer of learning.

This means understanding the general features, the similarities or sameness of information or skills. For example the dictionary, directory and catalogue are similar in the way information is arranged alphabetically. These documents use the same skills to search for information but the similarity ends there. In baking there are similar procedures of making ingredients and using baking pans and oven for the final products. In computer operations the skills used to open the computer and to access information is the same. In generalization therefore the learner understands the general features.

 

 

 

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