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Chapter 15. Transfer and Problem Solving. Chapter Overview. Transfer Problem Solving Facilitating Transfer and Problem Solving in the Classroom. Transfer. Transfer: when something you learn in one situation affects how you learn or perform in another situation

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chapter 15

Chapter 15

Transfer and Problem Solving

chapter overview
Chapter Overview
  • Transfer
  • Problem Solving
  • Facilitating Transfer and Problem Solving in the Classroom
transfer
Transfer
  • Transfer: when something you learn in one situation affects how you learn or perform in another situation
  • Transfer is an important concept for learning
  • If we did not transfer learning from one situation to another, then we would have to learn how to do everything from scratch
transfer1
Transfer
  • Types of transfer
    • Positive vs. Negative transfer
      • Positive transfer: learning in one situation facilitates learning or performance in another situation
        • Example: Knowing how to add and subtract allows us to balance our checkbook
      • Negative transfer: learning in one situations hinders our learning or performance in another situation
        • Example: playing tennis well and playing racquetball poorly
transfer2
Transfer
  • Types of transfer continued…
    • Vertical vs. Lateral transfer
      • Vertical transfer: An individual learns know knowledge or skills by building on basic, pre-requisite knowledge
        • Example: Learning to calculate mean and standard deviation before the t-test
      • Lateral transfer: Knowledge of a topic is not essential to learning a new topic, but helps somewhat
        • Example: Knowledge of French is not essential for learning Spanish, yet knowing French can facilitate learning Spanish
transfer3
Transfer
  • Types of transfer
    • Specific vs. General transfer
      • Specific transfer: The original learning task and the transfer task overlap in content
        • Example: driving a car versus driving a truck
      • General transfer: The original task and the transfer task are different in content
        • Example: driving an automatic versus driving a standard
transfer4
Transfer
  • Theories of transfer
    • Formal discipline
      • Early theory of transfer
      • Emphasized the importance of exercising the mind so that one can learn more quickly and deal with new situations; “mind as muscle”
      • Focused on general transfer
      • Not well-regarded
transfer5
Transfer
  • Theories of transfer
    • Early Behaviorist – Thorndike’s Identical Elements: Transfer will occur only if the original and the transfer tasks have identical elements
    • Learning is facilitated because of the information, habits, interests , attitudes, and ideals that are produced when studying various topics
transfer6
Transfer
  • Theories of transfer
    • Later Behaviorist – Similarity of Stimuli and Responses:
      • When stimuli and responses are similar in 2 situations, transfer will occur
      • When stimuli are different and responses are similar, some positive transfer will occur
      • When stimuli are similar and responses are different, negative transfer will occur
transfer7
Transfer
  • Theories of transfer
    • Information processing perspective: Transfer requires the individual to retrieve the stored information and skills at the appropriate time so that transfer can take place
    • Retrieval cues determine what relevant knowledge, if any, will be retrieved
      • The more closely associated a transfer event is to one that is stored, the more likely it is that transfer will take place
transfer8
Transfer
  • Theories of transfer
    • Contextual perspective – situated learning: Learning should take place in the context in which it will be used later
      • Skills don’t necessarily transfer from school to life, classroom to classroom, etc.
      • We find it hard to compute a 15% tip on a restaurant bill
      • To facilitate transfer, we should teach for transfer
transfer9
Transfer
  • Factors affecting transfer
    • Meaningful learning promotes better transfer than rote learning
    • The more thoroughly something is learned, the more likely it is to be transferred
    • The more similar two situations are, the more likely it is that transfer will take place
    • Principles are more easily transferred than knowledge
    • Numerous and varied opportunities for practice increase the likelihood of transfer
    • Time is not a friend to transfer
problem solving
Problem Solving
  • Problem solving is a complex activity in which we engage every day
  • Some problems are easy and familiar, others are more difficult
problem solving1
Problem Solving
  • Basic concepts in problem solving
    • Components of a problem
      • Givens: information that is provided when the problem is presented
      • Goal: the desired end or goal state
      • Operations: the actions that are performed to reach the goal
problem solving2
Problem Solving
  • Basic concepts in problem solving
    • Algorithms and heuristics
      • Algorithm: Specific, step-by-step procedures for solving a problem that will lead to the correct answer
      • Heuristic: general rule of thumb that may lead to the correct answer
problem solving3
Problem Solving
  • Basic concepts in problem solving
    • Well-defined versus ill-defined problems
      • Well-defined problems: givens, operations, and goals are stated and understood; most research has focused on this type of problem
      • Ill-defined problems: givens, operations, and/or goals are unknown or unclear; most real-life problem solving is ill-defined
problem solving4
Problem Solving
  • Theories of problem solving
    • Trial-and-error learning
      • Problem solving that is characterized by mostly unfocused exploration for a possible solution
        • Works only if there are a limited number of possibilities to be tried
        • Young children use this approach
problem solving5
Problem Solving
  • Theories of problem solving
    • Response hierarchy: An individual tries out a set of responses to a stimulus based on the degree of habit strength; the organism basically runs through his/her repertoire of responses to a stimulus to see which one works
problem solving6
Problem Solving
  • Theories of problem solving
    • Gestalt psychology: problem solving requires insight, which allows for a restructuring of the problem situation – not well supported; insight is not always necessary for problem solving
problem solving7
Problem Solving
  • Theories of problem solving
    • Stages: Cognitive approach to explaining problem solving
      • Preparation: gather information about the problem and its solution
      • Incubation: think about the problem while engaging in other activities
      • Inspiration: insight
      • Verification: check to make sure the solution is correct
problem solving8
Problem Solving
  • Theories of problem solving
    • Information processing theory: emphasizes the role of working memory capacity, meaningful learning, organization of LTM, retrieval, and strategies
    • More on this in the next section…
problem solving9
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Working memory capacity: working memory is limited; we can overcome this limitation by storing information externally (write it down) and by using automatic skills
problem solving10
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Encoding and storage of the problem: Sometimes we perceive and encode the problem situation incorrectly
      • St. Ives example in book, p. 363
      • A critical factor is knowing what information is important/irrelevant and encoding it in the correct way (see birds and worms example on page 364)
      • Experts and novices in a particular domain classify, encode, and store problems in different ways
problem solving11
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Mental sets in encoding: the tendency to approach and encode problems in similar ways
      • See examples on page 367
      • In most cases this facilitates problem solving; occasionally it hinders our ability to solve a problem
problem solving12
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Functional fixedness
      • We think of objects as having only one function; this causes us to overlook other possible uses, which can hinder problem solving
      • Functional fixedness and mental set are the result of past experience
problem solving13
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Retrieval from LTM: as you are thinking about a problem, you must be able to retrieve relevant information at the same time so that you can solve it
      • We start searching logical places; problem cues can help us search for the correct information; anagram example
      • Anxiety interferes with our ability to retrieve information
problem solving14
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Knowledge base
      • Expert problem solvers have a more complete and better organized knowledge base for the problems in their area of expertise
      • They also have more interconnections among that information
      • Novices lack the knowledge base and are likely to engage in ineffective problem solving strategies
problem solving15
Problem Solving
  • Cognitive factors in problem solving
    • Metacognition
      • Successful problem solvers must
        • Believe they can solve the problem
        • Know which strategies to use
        • Plan a course of action
        • Understand that the problem may take time and effort
        • Monitor progress
problem solving16
Problem Solving
  • Problem solving strategies
    • Combining algorithms
      • Putting together several algorithms, as is done in higher-level mathematics, is often needed
      • Difficult to use
problem solving17
Problem Solving
  • Problem solving strategies
    • Hill climbing: a strategy in which individuals engage in activities that will bring them closer to the goal state
    • It usually leads to the correct solution; can be difficult if part of the problem solution requires a step backwards
problem solving18
Problem Solving
  • Problem solving strategies
    • Means-ends analysis
      • The problem solver breaks the original problem into subgoals and works successively on each subgoal until the overall goal is met
      • Often used
      • A problem is that the use of subgoals can allow us to forget the overall goal
      • The Tower of Hanoi problem often is used to demonstrate this strategy
problem solving19
Problem solving
  • Problem solving strategies
    • Working backwards: begin at the goal state and work your way backward to the beginning
    • Example: geometry proofs
problem solving20
Problem Solving
  • Problem solving strategies
    • Drawing analogies: draw an analogy between a problem situation and another situation to give you some insight into the correct solution
      • Gick & Holyoak (1980) study on page 375 and in handout
      • Doesn’t always work; we often have to be told to generate an analogy; also, we may draw inappropriate parallels
problem solving21
Problem Solving
  • Problem solving strategies
    • Representativeness and availability
      • Representativeness: we jump to a conclusion about a solution based on obvious characteristics of the problem
      • Availability: a problem is solved based only on information that comes to mind immediately
problem solving22
Problem Solving
  • Meaningful versus meaningless problem solving
    • If you learn an algorithm at a rote level, you may overlook important information that is meaningful to the problem solution
facilitating transfer and problem solving
Facilitating Transfer and Problem Solving
  • Students need to learn information meaningfully and thoroughly
  • Problem solving strategies should be learned at a meaningful level
  • One must have a mental set for transfer
  • Prerequisite skills should be practiced to mastery so that they become automatic
  • Numerous and varied opportunities for practicing transfer and problem solving should be provided
facilitating transfer and problem solving1
Facilitating Transfer and Problem Solving
  • Students should practice identifying problems on their own
  • Differences between ideas should be emphasized in an effort to minimize negative transfer
  • Allow students to learn problem solving skills through discovery
  • Teach general learning and problem-solving skills
facilitating transfer and problem solving2
Facilitating Transfer and Problem Solving
  • Students should learn strategies for defining ill-defined problems
  • Scaffold students’ early attempts to solve a problem
  • Cooperative group problem solving can facilitate the development of effective problem solving strategies
  • Classroom evaluation should measure transfer and problem solving
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