Define Transfer of Learning, it’s concept and types, as a teacher how will you use it in teaching learning?

Transfer of Learning. Concept and Types.As a Teacher, how will you use the same in teaching learning? Give examples.


Learning is an interaction wherein when any situation acts upon the learner, he reacts and modifies his behavior. Eg. A child touches the flame of a candle, and immediately withdraws his hand. He has learnt how it feels to get scalded.

Concept of transfer of learning

“Transfer of Learning (Training) is a process of applying or carrying over the knowledge, skills, habits, attitudes, emotions or other responses from one training situation (in which they were initially acquired) to another training situation.”.

Definition of transfer of learning

Drever – “The improvement of one mental or motor function, by systematic training of another allied function.”.

H.C. Ellis – “Transfer of learning means that experience or performance on one task influences performance on some subsequent task.” .

Eg. Riding a scooter becomes easier and quicker if we know how to ride a bicycle.

Eg. Applying mathematical skills such as addition, subtraction, etc for solving physics problems.

Types of transfer of learning

  • Positive – When previous learning facilitates or simplifies training or performance in a later situation. The carrying over of knowledge or skill is beneficial to future training.

Eg. Learning to spell “well” after learning to spell “bell”.

Eg. Playing badminton will help to pick up tennis faster.

  • Negative – When previous learning hinders or confuses learning or performance in a later situation.

Eg. Pronunciation of “rough” versus pronunciation of “bough” even though they have the same spelling.

Eg. Substances contract while changing state from liquid to solid due to decrease in temperature but ice expands enormously.

  • Zero – When previous learning has no influence on learning or performance in a later situation.

Eg. Training in Music will not affect training of History in either positive or negative way.

Eg. Playing basketball cannot influence writing of an essay.

Examples of transfer in teaching-learning

  1. Learning Vedic Maths or Abacus as a hobby can help to solve complicated calculations in school sums more quickly and easily.
  2. Singing, Dramatics, debates, elocutions, scrabble, crossword, etc. will help in the study of languages.
  3. Knowledge of Marathi simplifies the learning of French as both belong to the Indo-French group of languages.
  4. Use of correlation between subjects – Studying of properties of air and atmospheric pressure in Science helps to understand climate and weather in Geography.
  5. While bifurcating students on the basis of subjects, combine those subjects that facilitate each other. Eg. Physics and Maths, Science and Geography, History and Geography, etc.
  6. Skills gained while learning MS Word, MS Excel and MS Paint will help students to make presentations in MS PowerPoint more quickly.

Educational implications/importance of transfer of learning

  1. Help students correlate and detect similarity between previous and new. Eg. How atmospheric pressure helps to predict rain.
  2. Use variety of examples. Eg. In algebra along with x and y, use other alphabets as unknowns also.
  3. Relate learning to real-life situations. Eg. While teaching democracy, elect students’ council through free and fair means.
  4. Make students look for relationships for future usefulness. Eg. In languages, explain new words with respect to their original roots – then they will learn to apply this technique in future. Eg. English Hyperbole comes from Greek Hyper + bole = exaggeration + throw.
  5. Stop faulty study habits in the bud before they transfer to the future. Eg. Adding numbers by counting on fingers.
  6. Pay attention to intelligence, environment and individual differences too. Eg. On an average, a child who has learnt an instrument may pick up musical notes more quickly than others.
  7. Do not use different methods to teach the same idea. It will confuse the children.
  8. For better transfer, make children understand with critical thinking rather than rote memorization.

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