I know that "data" and "transfer" are used when talking about technology and things like that. My question is when talking about people learning new things, can I use the words "data" and "transfer" as well? For example in the following sentence:

Data is transferred to/among new students from their teachers.

Is that usage correct? Is there a more colloquial way of saying it?

2 Answers 2


We normally speak of information and knowledge in the teacher-student relationship, rather than data.

The verbs used to express that sharing of information can be



pass down


among others.


When it comes to people, the common term is knowledge transfer.

From Training Industry:

Knowledge transfer is the process by which experienced employees share or distribute their knowledge, skills and behaviors to the employees replacing them . . .

A variety of tools and methods are employed to accomplish successful knowledge transfer, according to research. Among them are peer-to-peer and team training activities such as mentor networks, coaching, and work shadowing. Other popular methods include technology-based activities such as video captured presentations, social and collaborative tools such as chat, forum, intranet blog postings; and mobile devices.

It is also used in the context of academic learning.

From the University of Cambridge:

It’s all about the transfer of tangible and intellectual property, expertise, learning and skills between academia and the non-academic community.

I had also thought of information transfer. However, even though Google Books NGram Viewer shows it's a more commonly used phrase, Wikipedia indicates it's mostly used in a technical sense:

In telecommunications, information transfer is the process of moving messages containing user information from a source to a sink via a Communication channel. In this sense, information transfer is equivalent to data transmission which highlights more practical, technical aspects.

The information transfer rate may or may not be equal to the transmission modulation rate.

Bidirectional information transfer is called information exchange.

Non-technical meaning

In a non-technical context, information transfer is sometimes used to signify knowledge transfer or teaching.

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