Educational Psychology: What do we mean by the term “Transfer of Learning”?

 Chapter Five 

Transfer of Learning

5a i). Define the term Transfer of Learning.


Knowledge that is learned in school is intended to prepare the student for life outside school. Content learned in one context can be applied in another context within the same subject or in another subject. For example, learning how to sew a shirt on a sewing machine during a Home economics lesson should help a student to sew a skirt at home. Also learning English grammar should help a student write correct English. Therefore transfer of learning is a key concept. It refers to the ability to apply knowledge and skills in new situations. If a learner cannot apply knowledge from situation to situation learning will have little purpose. In this lesson I have discussed transfer of learning focusing on the definition of the term, aspects of transfer, teaching for transfer.

Definition Of Transfer Of Learning

We shall first look at situations that help us to infer that transfer of learning takes place We could say that transfer of learning occurs when previously learned content influences current learning positively or negatively. For example, when students learn a mathematical principle, which can be used to solve a physics problem, this is positive transfer.

From the foregoing we can define transfer of learning as the process that enables us to make previously learned responses in new situations. Transfer results in the ability to perform sensibly and adequately in a new task as a result of having performed other tasks previously.

Put simply, transfer of learning is ability to apply knowledge from one situation. For example; the ability to apply mathematical formulae to compute mathematical problems or, the ability to use knowledge in mathematics to understand balancing equations in chemistry or physics.

Aspects Of Transfer

There are two basic aspects of transfer. These are:

  • Discrimination.
  • Generalization.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s