Creating Environments for Cognitive Transfer
As stated previously, the value of game programming is the potential for the transfer of cognitive skills to other domains such as mathematics. In fact, the whole of education is about skills transfer, the transfer of classroom skills to life skills.
Educational research shows that transfer is difficult to achieve. People do not readily recognize the same problem when presented in different contexts nor apply problem solving skills learned in one domain to another.

The game programming teacher should engage other teachers. All teachers should attempt to make connections between game programming concepts and mainstream subject concepts. The game programming teacher should mention that the screen is a Cartesian plane, the mathematics teacher should describe Cartesian co-ordinates as being like x and y in Gamemaker.
Using the same representation as used in other accompanying modes of mathematics education (textbook, lectures, worksheets) will help students transfer and integrate understanding between the different modes”
When Does The Use Of Computer Games And Other Interactive Multimedia Software Help Students Learn Mathematics? (DRAFT June 14, 98), Maria M. Klawe, Department of Computer Science The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada, V6T 1Z4

Mediation includes helping students to forge links between computer and other experiences”
“students may not fully generalize the variable idea as used in computer programming to other situations”
“Effective teachers appear to plan and oversee computer programming experiences to ensure that students reflect on and understand the mathematical concepts”
The Future of Educational Computing Research: The Case of Computer Programming DOUGLAS H. CLEMENTS
In the paper Teaching for Transfer , Perkins and Salomon talk of "low road" and "high road" transfer. Low road transfer reflects the automatic triggering of well-practiced routines in circumstances where there is considerable perceptual similarity. High road transfer occurs between unrelated disciplines where there is no obvious connection. Furthermore, high road transfer can be forward-reaching or backward-reaching. With forward reaching transfer, one seeks new domains where newly acquired skills could be used. With backward reaching transfer, one finds oneself in a problem situation, abstracts key characteristics from the situation, and reaches backward into one's experience for matches.

They advocate "hugging” and "bridging". Hugging means that teachers make the crooss curriculum connections as discussed previously so as to facilitate low road transfer. With bridging, teachers mediate the needed processes of abstraction and connection. A concept akin to Metacognition.

If the body of knowledge is changing so rapidly that what is being taught will be irrelevant before kids leave school, then learning how to learn is a more important skill to teach. Metacognition can be described as thinking about thinking or reflecting on learning and problem solving strategies (read more at

Metacognition is reflecting on thinking:
(a) what the strategy was,
(b) why the strategy was useful,
(c) how the strategy was used,
(d) when and where the strategy should be used and
(e) how to evaluate the use of the strategy

A major factor in acquiring metacognitive skills is said to be Cognitive Conflict. Cognitive Conflict is when you thought you understood something but conflicting information causes you to reassess your internally constructed model of reality.
Cognitive Conflict is why we enjoy playing games.

LOGO research says "those behaviours indicative of cognitive conflict were related to scores on a measure of problem solving (higher-order thinking)."

The other component of metacognitive learning is the time to reflect and generalise the metacognitive strategies that you have learnt. Class discussions and the keeping of journals could assist metacognition.

“Teachers who are skilled in methods of encouraging and promoting metacognition will play a crucial part in helping students make use of the potential benefits which computers may offer in schooling”
Metacognition & learning strategies for teachers using computers by A.N.Hunt

“there is such a thing as becoming a good learner and therefore … teachers should do a lot of learning in the presence of the children and in collaboration with them.”
What is Logo? Who Needs It? by Seymour Papert

See "Transfer Of Declarative Knowledge In Complex Information Processing Domains " for another distinction, that between Decalrative and Procedural knowledge. Singley, M. K. & Anderson, J. R. (1988). A keystroke analysis of learning and transfer of text editing. Human Computer Interaction, 3, 223-274. gives a good account of how Constructionism is influenced by the (unpopular) Doctrine of Formal Discipline "transfer... is broad and takes place at a general level, sometimes spanning domains that share no content"