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The purpose of conducting this study was to investigate the effects of multiple-trial learning on the transfer of problem-solving strategies. Within the classroom, students have many opportunities to develop problem-solving skills. Therefore, laboratory studies using multiple-trial learning may more closely approximate the classroom situation than do laboratory studies involving only one treatment presentation. The treatment used in this study required subjects to complete analogies. These intellective skills used in solving analogies are also used in a variety of problem solving skills (Stermberg, 1977).

The theoretical framework for the interpretation of the transfer of cognitive strategies comes from the work of Flavell (1978, 1979) and Royer (1979). Flavell's metacognitive model of cognitive monitoring suggests that monitoring is by task characteristics, goals, previous experiences and knowledge structure. Metacognitive knowledge includes all the knowledge and beliefs a learner comes to hold concerning the individual problem-solving capabilities in various contexts. This includes knowledge of what intellective skills have been required for successful resolution of past problems. Positive strategy transfer would occur when the learner recognizes that characteristics of the transfer task are similar to those of previously completed tasks, and employs those skills which were used to solve the previous problems.

Royer's efforts (1979) have been at a more empirical level and couched within the context of a schema theory of transfer. From the perspective of schema theory, "transfer of learning involves the activation of a previously acquired schema (strategy, plan, frame, script, etc.) when one encounters a new learning situation. Given that the activated schema is appropriate for the task, learning could occur much more rapidly than it would be in the case where an appropriate schema was not available" (Royer, p. 65, 1979).

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