• Using formative assessment to: (a) make learning goals clear to students; (b) continuously monitor, provide feedback, and respond to students’ learning progress; and (c) involve students in self- and peer assessment.

The ability to solve complex problems and metacognition are important cognitive and intrapersonal competencies that are often included in lists of 21st century skills. For instruction aimed at development of problem-solving and metacognitive competencies, we recommend:

  • Recommendation 5: Designers and developers of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in problem solving and metacognition should use modeling and feedback techniques that highlight the processes of thinking rather than focusing exclusively on the products of thinking. Problem-solving and metacognitive competencies should be taught and assessed within a specific discipline or topic area rather than as a stand-alone course. Teaching and learning of problem-solving and metacognitive competencies need not wait until all of the related component competencies have achieved fluency. Finally, sustained instruction and effort are necessary to develop expertise in problem solving and metacognition; there is simply no way to achieve competence without time, effort, motivation, and informative feedback.

Most of the available research on design and implementation of instruction for transfer has focused on the cognitive domain. We compared the instructional design principles and research-based teaching methods emerging from this research with the instructional design principles and research-based teaching methods that are beginning to emerge from the smaller body of research focusing on development of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, identifying some areas of overlap and similarities.

  • Conclusion: The instructional features listed above, shown by research to support the acquisition of cognitive competencies that transfer, could plausibly be applied to the design and implementation of instruction that would support the acquisition of transferable intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies.

The many gaps and weaknesses in the research reviewed here, particularly the lack of common definitions and measures, and the limited research in the intrapersonal and interpersonal domains limit our understanding of how to teach for transfer across the three domains.

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