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Aspects of Transfer in Education

Transfer in education allows children to apply acquired knowledge in understanding other concepts in different contexts. The main goal of education is to make children be able to use learned information in future situations (Matthews, 2018). Examples of transfer include applying knowledge in solving case problems or in using learning strategies in a unique situation. Memorizing things does not refer to transfer because it is difficult to hold the information in the memory for a long time without applying it. For example, if the teacher explains the topic to children and does not revise or practice it later, children will barely remember what they have learned. That is why the transfer is essential in education as it allows students to understand how the knowledge can be relevant.

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There are two types of transfer – positive and negative. The positive transfer takes place when learning in one field or one topic facilitates comprehension in another topic (Ormrod, 2011). For example, if the child learns math in elementary school, he or she can learn math in higher grades as the topics are interrelated. On the other hand, if children believe that a fish’s living environment is the sea and tell that a dolphin is a fish, then the negative transfer took place. Thus, parents and instructors have to be aware of this type of transfer when teaching or controlling the learning process.

Transfer of learning can also be divided into specific and general. The general transfer is when the acquired knowledge can be implemented in several spheres (Ormrod, 2011). For example, learning how to play chess can develop both logic and math skills. Specific transfer of learning is when the student is taught a concept that can be applied in the future in a similar concept. For example, learning techniques for a narrative essay can be used to write more complex elaborative stories. Different pedagogical models have been proposed that facilitate the transfer. Among these models are cognitive apprentice, problem-based learning, game-based learning, and community of practice (Hajian, 2019). All of these models can be used in the class to improve the performance of children and enhance transfer.


Hajian, S. (2019). Transfer of Learning and Teaching: A Review of Transfer Theories and Effective Instructional Practices. Journal of Education, 7(1), 93-111. Web.

Matthews, P. (2018). Near and far transfer of learning. Web.

Ormrod, J. E. (2011). Educational psychology: Developing learners. Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

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