As Learning First explains, the concept of “transfer” is ” the ability [of students] to use their knowledge and skills to solve problems and navigate new situations.”

I’ve begun to think more about how to implement this in my classroom, and thought I’d begin a “The Best…” list and invite readers to contribute more resources:

Ways to Promote Transfer of Learning is the second of my two-part Education Week Teacher series on the topic.

The Washington Post has published an excerpt from my new student motivation book. They took it from the chapter on transfer of learning and titled it The real stuff of schooling: How to teach students to apply knowledge.

21st Century Skills: Deeper Learning is Essential Ingredient for Success
is from Learning First.

Why Don’t They Apply What They’ve Learned, Part I is from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Be sure to also check out the comments.

Lessons for Life: Learning and Transfer is from Linda Darling-Hammond.

This is an older, but very accessible, piece from The University of Oregon.

The Composition Forum has a series of articles, many which are not that accessible (in my humble opinion), but are nevertheless worth a look.

Education for Life and Work:Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century is from The National Academy of Sciences (thanks to Paul Bruno for the tip).

And here’s a related piece
from Daniel Willingham (again, thanks to Paul for the tip).

Transfer as the point of education and the research on transfer and some practical implications (Transfer, part 2) are both by Grant Wiggins.

The Importance Of Explaining “Why”

Clarifying Transfer & How It Impacts What We Think Students Understand is by Grant Wiggins.

Study: Standardized Tests Don’t Measure “Fluid Intelligence”

Why Students Don’t Always Transfer What They Seem To Understand is by Grant Wiggins.

On transfer as the goal in literacy is by Grant Wiggins.

Study: Inductive Learning Promotes “Transfer Of Knowledge” Better Than Direct Instruction

What’s Transfer, And Why Is It So Hard To Achieve? (Part 1) is from The Learning Scientists.

Analogies Plus Tech Can Deepen Understanding is from Middleweb.

The trouble with transfer: How can we make learning more flexible? is from The Learning Spy.

I Really Like How SAS Curriculum Pathways Site Incorporates Knowledge Transfer In Social Studies

“Sideways Dictionary” Explains Tech Through Analogies & Lets You Contribute Your Own

“Transfer Of Learning” & Elon Musk

What makes people apply what they learn during training offers ideas applicable to the concept of learning transfer in schools.

Interesting Study On “Transfer” Reinforces Effectiveness Of “Learning By Doing”

Far transfer through music? This longitudinal study suggests it works! is from “From Experience To Meaning…”

Intriguing, Though Not Conclusive, Study Suggests That Knowledge Gained Through Active Learning Is More Transferable To New Contexts

Clarifying Transfer: The Ultimate Goal of Learning appears in Corwin Connect.


If You Learn A, Will You Be Better Able to Learn B? is a very good piece on learning transfer that appeared in The American Educator.

The One Habit That Makes Geniuses So Creative is from The Next Big Idea Club.


Teaching for transfer can help young children read for understanding is from Kappan.

Who benefits from brain training and why? is a report from Science Daily. The actual tool the study used – supposed brain training games – is less interesting than reading the article for its concise explanation of near and far transfer.

Feel free to contribute additional suggestions.

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