Learning Theory

The incorporation of Learning Theory research is integral when considering online learning for music education, or any subject for that matter.  Delving into past research on learning theories, we see that a myriad of learning theories, or frameworks, focus indentifying how learning takes place in individuals, and specifically, andragogy (Knowles, 1977), or adult learning.

Minter (2011) has put forth an article that identifies a useful understanding on learning theories applicable for the post-secondary online teacher. Rossman (2000) adds to this research with a connection of andragogy and distance learning. Awareness of learning theories such as : behaviorism, cognitivism, Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and constructivism are possible theories that afford guidance when creating online course materials.

Connections of learning theory to music education (Kassel, 1998; Benedict, 2009; Benedict, 2012 ) will be key to the research in online music education. Specifically, graduate programs in online music education will likely challenge the traditional music education method (Phillips, 2008). Understanding the online technology skills of the music education student will also become important considerations.



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Benedict, C. (2009). Methods and Approaches.  In H. Abeles & L. Custodero (eds.) Music pedagogy: Frameworks for practice.  New York, NY:  Oxford University Press.

Benedict, C. (Spring 2012).  Music Education in Theory:  Conceptualizing Practice in the Field Today.  Theory Into Practice, 51, (3)

Culatta, Richard. (2011). Behavorist Learning Theory. Retrieved from http://www.innovativelearning.com/teaching/behaviorism.html

Cullata, Richard. (2011). Cognitivism. Retrieved from http://www.innovativelearning.com/educational_psychology/cognitivism/index.htm

Cullata, Richard. (2011). Constructivist theories of learning. Retrieved from http://www.innovativelearning.com/educational_psychology/constructivism/index.htm

Henschke, J. A. (2011). Considerations regarding the future of andragogy. Adult Learning, 22(1), 34+.

Kassell, C. (March 1998).  Music and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  Music Educators Journal, 84 (5), pp. 29-32+60.  Retrieved from http://www.cathybenedict.com/mi-article.html

Knowles, M. (1977). Adult learning processes: Pedagogy and andragogy. Religious Education, 72(2), 202–211.

Minter, R. L. (2011). The learning theory jungle. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 8(6), 7–15.

Phillips, K. H. (2008). Graduate Music Education. Research and Issues in Music Education, 6(1), 2008.

Rossman, Mark. (2000). Andgragogy and distance education: Together in the new millennium. New Horizons in Adult Education, 14(1), 4-11.

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