A three-attribute transfer skills framework – part I: establishing the model and its relation to chemical education
This paper presents Part I of a two-part study. This first part reviews the literature of transfer of learning as one of the major goals of instruction. Transfer refers to students' ability to apply knowledge and skills in new learning contexts. The literature suggests partially or non-overlapping definitions, and empirical studies on transfer often lack sufficient theoretical background. The goal of this first study is twofold: (a) narrowing the gap between theoretical and empirical aspects of transfer skills, and (b) designing a theoretically-founded transfer framework that can be applied to research and practice in education. The framework was then investigated in the field of chemical education and will be further discussed in Part II. A comprehensive literature search resulted in 664 papers being identified for review. Papers in which transfer was a secondary issue were filtered out. Afterwards, we formulated a theoretical transfer framework that distinguishes between near and far transfer. The framework consists of three attributes: task distance, interdisciplinarity, and skills set. Our study contributes to the body of literature of transfer at several levels. At the theoretical level, we have pointed out commonalities and differences between the various current transfer definitions and proposed a three-attribute transfer framework. Part two will focus on the empirical-application level, showing the interplay between specific learning environments and their effect on students' transfer skills with emphasis on chemical education. These contributions help narrow gaps between the theory of transfer and empirical research.