Does learning transfer

I found the article about situated learning facinating. It connects for me that we often learn something related to social settings a tools involved. It’s interesting that with the copier technician story that the people in charge of training weren’t able to see the value of the technician’s experience and integrate that into some kind of knowledge base or resource. Of course, perhaps that’s happened by now.

I’ve seen the situation where there is a manual and guidelines to follow, but then many many situations/scenarios don’t fit in any of the prescriptions or scenarios in the manual. So, often there is another way to try and resolve the problem/situation, etc and this is rarely documented or may not even be encouraged. Yet, the people do find some way to go forward to the best of their ability and with their best judgment (which may include suggestions from friends, colleagues, etc.).

I also found interesting the other case studies – the milk cases and math in the grocery store. There seems to be the idea that learning doesn’t transfer and some evidence given. I find it interesting that the way they tested if learning transfered was to compare the math they learned in situ on the job to a sit down written math test. To me that doesn’t necessarily test if learning transfers. I would like to see a test where there was a different scenario, or different tools, to see if with different tools and a different situation (that was clearly not connected to their original learning situation) there might be some transfer. Maybe such learning is tacit rather than being congitive and in another scenario, with different tools, it might come out.

Such scenarios seem to fit well with the idea of action learning/action research, or what little I know of it anyway. As I understand it action learning/research is set up so that you bring together people who have issues, experiences, etc and the group facilitates deepening the knowledge or perhaps even helping to resolve some of the issues at hand.

It will be interesting to look at my ‘espoused theory’ and my ‘theory-in-use’.


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