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Exploring Metacognition as Support for Learning Transfer,

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marie Devlin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The ability to transfer one’s learning to new situations lies at the heart of lifelong learning and the employability of university graduates. Because students are often unaware of the importance of learning transfer and staff do not always explicitly articulate this expectation, this article explores the idea that metacognition (intentional awareness and self-regulation) might enhance the development of learning transfer. In this exploratory study, we report results from a survey of 74 staff and 118 students from five institutions in Australia, Belgium, UK, and USA. Overall, our data indicate that many staff and a majority of students do not have a clear understanding of what learning transfer entails, and that there are many mismatches between staff and student perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding learning transfer. This helps explain why learning transfer does not occur as often as it could. We found significant positive correlations between thinking about transfer and thinking about learning processes and the likelihood to use awareness to guide practice. This supports the idea that metacognition might enhance learning transfer. We offer suggestions for future efforts and research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scharff L, Draeger J, Verpoorten D, Devlin M, Dvorakova L, Lodge J, Smith S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Teaching & Learning Inquiry

Year: 2017

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-14, 1-8

Online publication date: 29/03/2017

Acceptance date: 26/11/2016

Date deposited: 22/05/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2167-4787

Publisher: University of Calgary; Digitization and Repository Services


DOI: 10.20343/5.1.6


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