I’ve been doing research on learning transfer particularly in second language education contexts for 20+ years, and this research appears in professional journals, encyclopedias, books, and conferences.
The main focus of my research is learning transfer, which is the application of learning outcomes in new situations. For example, if I know how to play the guitar, and then try to learn to play the violin, I might apply some of my guitar skills to this new instrument. If I know how to drive a car, and I try to drive a truck for the first time, I might apply some of my car driving skills to this new vehicle. And if I learn something in a classroom, I might apply it when I am outside the classroom, for example at work or in a social situation. In each of these situations, I am transferring learning. Here is an interesting example in the form of a TV commercial:
A fundamental goal
Learning transfer is a basic purpose of education and training: If individuals can’t apply outside a classroom what they learn in the classroom, the value of that education or training is questionable. In this sense, learning transfer is just as important as learning itself!
... but here's the problem
Learning transfer is often assumed to occur in and from education and training contexts. For example, if students can demonstrate in a classroom that they have learned something (for example, by successfully completing a test), it may be taken for granted that they will apply what they have learned outside the classroom (for example, in a different course, at home, or at work). In other words, if students learn, then they must be able to transfer that learning. But, a century’s worth of research shows that learning transfer isn’t inevitable and can be very difficult to stimulate!
To see my research publications and presentations, just click below
My research has been published in professional journals (ELT Journal, English for Specific Purposes, International Review of Applied Linguistics, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Journal of Second Language Writing, Korea TESOL Journal, Language Teaching, TESOL Journal, TESOL Quarterly, The Modern Language Journal, Written Communication), encyclopedias (Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning, TESOL encyclopedia of English language teaching), and edited books (Effective second language writing, Refresh: The changing role of freshman English, Studies and essays on learning, teaching, and assessing L2 writing in honour of Alister Cumming).
I have given presentations on my research at conferences for professional organizations including the American Association for Applied Linguistics, the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics, Arizona TESOL, the International Association of Applied Linguistics, and the TESOL International Association. I have also given invited presentations at the Sunshine State TESOL Conference, Sabanci University’s Freshman English Conference, the Symposium on Second Language Writing, and at institutions including Shih Chien University, Taipei, Shih Chien University, Kaohsiung, the Taipei Municipal University of Education, and Tamkang University.