A comprehensible connection and a clear understanding of generalizable principles and applicable rules between what has already been learned and the new is a reasoned, thoughtful process. Transfer by generalization involves more than a search for common elements in the learning conditions and/or task. Theorists propose that explicitness or “mindfulness,” conceptualized as “metacognition,” during learning promotes transfer. (Macaulay & Cree, 1999; Perkins & Salomon, 1992)
Metacognition refers to higher order thinking that involves active control over the cognitive processes as students are engaged in learning.
Teachers guide students to become more strategic thinkers by helping them understand the way they are processing information. Teachers model thinking aloud and invite students to think about their thinking and explain their thought process.
As learners develop self-monitoring or “metacognitive habits,” they make analogies and apply overarching abstractions and generalizations as they connect previous learning to new knowledge and skills.
Academic skills, such as critical thinking and the process of inquiry, transfer across learning situations and context. Reading comprehension competencies are transferred as they are applied to meaning-making through interpretation across texts, collaborative conversations, and written expression.
Metacognitive skills are transferable across languages.