School Learning for Transfer

Gavriel Salomon, David N. Perkins

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Most of what is taught in school is expected to affect learning and performance that transcend the mastery of those subjects. Such transfer from A to B is likely to occur when more elements are common to both or when one acquires a general principle that can be transferred to new instances. However, there is a great discrepancy between the expectation for transfer from school learning to the acquisition of new subjects and the handling of daily events where transfer appears more frequently. According to one theory, transfer takes place either through automatic application of well-rehearsed knowledge ("low road") or through mindful processes of abstraction. Often, neither road is taken and thus transfer fails. Recent developments challenge the basic paradigm and conception of transfer, suggesting for example to focus on transfer as "preparation for future learning," or seeing learning as a matter of participation in a community of learners in an active process of knowing-as-construction within a social context of activity. Some suggest a detect-elect-connect model, while others offer a more expansive framing that emphasize the future uses of learned content. Transfer can be facilitated by reflective abstraction (high road), practice to near automaticity (low road), emphasis on significance and potential diverse uses (expansive versus bounded framing), and fostering seeing through the surface to deeper structure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
    ISBN (Print)9780080970868
    StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.


    • Common elements
    • Detect-elect-connect
    • Expansive framing
    • Failure of transfer
    • High road
    • Low road
    • Mindful abstraction
    • Social context of activity
    • Surface and deep structure
    • Transfer as preparation for future learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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