What Is Transfer?

Two of the most important educational goals are to promote transfer and retention of learning. Retention of learning requires that students remember what they have learned, whereas transfer of learning requires students not only to remember but also to make sense of and be able to use what they have learned. (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001)

Transfer of learning means the application of a previously known skill set to a new experience or learning. Transfer is the practice of applying knowledge or meaning from a familiar context to an unfamiliar context. Transfer is the ability to transfer our knowledge and skill effectively which involves the capacity to take what we know and use it creatively, flexibly, fluently, in different settings or problems, on our own.(Wiggins 2012) Transfer of learning is not mere plugging in of previously learned knowledge and skill but rather is the result of transfer-by-design: continuously providing scaffolded learning opportunities for students to prove understanding—and make deeper meaning—by “moving” their understanding.(Heick, 2014)

Cross-Linguistic Transfer Defined

  • In linguistics, behaviorist psychologists define language transfer as the subconscious use of behaviors from one language in another.
  • In the Applied Linguistics field, it is also known as exhibiting knowledge of a native or dominant language (L1) in one that is being learned (L2). (Araski & Janusz, 2006)

What to keep in mind about Cross-Linguistic Transfer

Transfer occurs in various language-related settings, such as acquiring a new language and when two languages or two dialects come into contact.

Transfer may depend on how similar the two languages are and the intensity of the conversational setting.

Transfer is more likely to happen if the two languages are in the same language family.(Ada 1989, Cummins 1980)