A new study suggests that learning by observation might be faster, but that knowledge acquired through active learning makes it more likely it can be transferable to new contexts. (Editor’s Note: I originally linked to the wrong study – it’s fixed now).

Why isn’t it conclusive?

Well, it is conclusive when it comes to how birds learn. Yes, the testing was done on birds. The study’s authors say: “Our latest findings in finches also lead to hypotheses that could be studied in humans to better understand social learning processes.”

In fact, past research with humans has, indeed, reached similar conclusions, and I’ve previously written about a report by Daniel Willingham, Interesting Study On “Transfer” Reinforces Effectiveness Of “Learning By Doing.”

Study: Inductive Learning Promotes “Transfer Of Knowledge” Better Than Direct Instruction is another study supporting this idea.

I’m adding this info to The Best Resources For Learning About The Concept Of “Transfer” — Help Me Find More.