Maximize transfer and generalization

All learners need to be able to generalize and transfer their learning to new contexts. Students vary in the amount of scaffolding they need for memory and transfer in order to improve their ability to access their prior learning. Of course, all learners can benefit from assistance in how to transfer the information they have to other situations, as learning is not about individual facts in isolation, and students need multiple representations for this to occur. Without this support and the use of multiple representations, information might be learned, but is inaccessible in new situations. Supports for memory, generalization, and transfer include techniques that are designed to heighten the memorability of the information, as well as those that prompt and guide learners to employ explicit strategies.

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  • Provide checklists, organizers, sticky notes, electronic reminders
  • Prompt the use of mnemonic strategies and devices (e.g., visual imagery, paraphrasing strategies, method of loci, etc.)
  • Incorporate explicit opportunities for review and practice
  • Provide templates, graphic organizers, concept maps to support note-taking
  • Provide scaffolds that connect new information to prior knowledge (e.g., word webs, half-full concept maps)
  • Embed new ideas in familiar ideas and contexts (e.g., use of analogy, metaphor, drama, music, film, etc.)
  • Provide explicit, supported opportunities to generalize learning to new situations (e.g., different types of problems that can be solved with linear equations, using physics principles to build a playground)
  • Offer opportunities over time to revisit key ideas and linkages between ideas
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