Teaching a thinking strategy: Transfer across domains and self learning versus class‐like setting

Anat Zohar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to investigate two issues related to the teaching of thinking skills: (1) transfer across domains; and (2) comparison between individual learning of a thinking strategy and ‘class‐like’ setting, which consists of a didactic intervention that takes place in small groups. A microgenetic design was used, in which community college students engaged in investigation of problems (each student participated in 20 sessions). It was found that: (1) the control of variables strategy that was taught in the context of a problem in one domain transferred fully to a new problem in the same domain, hut transferred less well to an isomorphous problem in a different domain; (2) the ‘class‐like’ setting contributed to improved performance (as measured by the frequency of valid inferences), with the didactic intervention seeming to contribute to this improvement; and (3) the learning environment described in this study had a larger effect on ‘slower learners’ than on ‘faster learners’. It is proposed to teach for enhanced transfer by focusing explicitly on recognition of underlying logical structures of content‐rich contexts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1994
Externally publishedYes


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