The influence of perceptions of task similarity/difference on learning transfer in second language writin

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This study investigates the influence of students' perceptions of task similarity/difference on the transfer of writing skills. A total of 42 students from a freshman ESL writing course completed an out-of-class writing task. For half of the students, the subject matter of the writing task was designed to be similar to the writing course; for the other half, it was designed to be different. All students were also interviewed about the writing task. Reports of learning transfer were identified in the interview transcripts, and students' performances on the task and on a recent assignment from the course were assessed. Results indicate that the intended task similarity/difference (i.e., in subject matter) did not have the expected impact on learning transfer; however, students' perceptions of task similarity/difference did influence learning transfer. Implications of these findings for theory, practice, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-103
Number of pages28
JournalWritten Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008



  • Academic English
  • Content
  • ESL
  • Freshman composition
  • Topic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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