Knowledge to Go: A Motivational and Dispositional View of Transfer

David N. Perkins, Gavriel Salomon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We synthesize ideas from the foregoing articles in this special issue and from the broader literature on transfer to explore several themes. In many ordinary life circumstances, transfer proceeds easily, but formal learning often shows much less transfer than educators would like, making failure to transfer a focus of investigation. Transfer, like any complex cognitive performance, benefits from motivational and dispositional drivers, an aspect of transfer not much discussed in these articles but inviting attention. Episodes of transfer can be analyzed according to a detect-elect-connect model: detecting a potential relationship with prior learning, electing to pursue it, and working out a fruitful connection. These three "bridges" are somewhat independent; ways in which each of them succeed and fail are detailed, drawing on the contributed articles and the broader literature. Finally, insights from this collection of articles and elsewhere put educators in a position to teach for transfer more effectively, but shifts of mind-set about the nature of knowledge and learning are required.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)248-258
    Number of pages11
    JournalEducational Psychologist
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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