Student Motivation, Cognition, and Learning: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie

By Paul R. Pintrich; Donald R. Brown et al. | Go to book overview

15
Concluding Remarks

Wilbert J. McKeachie University of Michigan


INTRODUCTION

To be honored by a Festschrift is a wonderful thing, and my gratitude is enhanced by the stimulation and pleasure I have received from reading each of the contributions.

Reading the preceding chapters, I am struck by the extent to which some aspect of similarity and difference enters into a number of the contributions. In this chapter I shall try to trace some aspects of that theme through the contributions as they relate to the themes of cognition, motivation, and instruction.

The classical use of similarity in psychology has been in theories dealing with the role of similarities and differences in affecting transfer of learning. Clearly, people and animals use learning in new situations; yet more often than not when we attempt to measure transfer of learning, learners fail to transfer in many situations where we had hoped transfer would occur.

I have argued elsewhere (McKeachie, 1987) that all learning and memory involves transfer; we never use learning in exactly the same situation in which it was learned. At any later period in time, we have changed, and the situation is no longer the same. We simply label the transfer as memory if the situation provides ample cues to the situations in which learning occurred. If the new situation is a little different from the original ones we describe the outcome as near

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