Playing Together: Designing Online Music Courses Using a Social Constructivist Framework

Playing Together: Designing Online Music Courses Using a Social Constructivist Framework

Jennifer V. Lock (University of Calgary, Canada) and Carol Johnson (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5109-6.ch009

Abstract

Music education, like many disciplines, is transitioning to the online environment, which impacts the learning landscape. This transition, along with a mindshift by instructors, requires careful consideration of the theoretical underpinnings needed to inform the design, facilitation and assessment to create conditions where students are actively engaged in learning and meaning making. The affordance of digital technologies (e.g., synchronous and asynchronous, multimedia) provides a means for creating and articulating knowledge. This chapter discusses online learning and explores the nature of constructivist and social-constructivist theories and how they can be applied in the design, facilitation, and assessment of online music education. Examples of constructivist learning in online music courses are shared for the purpose of examining how technology can be used to support the learning outcomes grounded on social constructivism. The chapter concludes with directions for future research and implications for practice.
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Introduction

The field of music education, like many disciplines, has ventured into the implementation of online learning. With demonstrated exponential growth of online learning in music courses at National Association of Schools of Music in the United States beginning in 2012 (Johnson, 2017b), online music courses should be ready with rich experiences that engage students in learning. The main challenge surrounding the implementation of online music courses is generally one of understanding effective teaching approach and design. That is, research has found that online music courses are often designed according to instructor contexts of familiarity and background experience (Johnson, 2017a). Such contexts include: particular ways of teaching, technical abilities and aptitudes, availability of digital tools, as well as individual philosophical approaches to teaching music (Johnson, 2017a).

Given the diversity of options when approaching the design of online music courses for higher education, it would seem necessary to identify a teaching approach that is grounded both in the tradition of music teaching, and in online learning pedagogy. The availability of current digital technologies provides a means for actively creating and articulating knowledge using an array of tools. These digital tools can support synchronous and asynchronous two-way communication, as well as the use of multimedia for knowledge building. Such options for digital tools suggests the implementation of necessary supportive and participatory frameworks to uphold learning music in the online learning environment. Therefore, it is posited that when students are learning music online, the learning design should be grounded in a social constructivist theoretical framework to effectively support how and what technology is used in support of learning music and active participation in learning.

From this pedagogical viewpoint, this chapter will explore the nature of constructivist and social-constructivist theories and how they can be applied in the design of online music courses. Examples of constructivist learning in online music courses are shared for the purpose of examining how technology can be used to support the learning outcomes grounded in a social constructivist theory, as well as the impact in relation to the student learning experience. The chapter concludes with implications for practice to support the design of online music using a social constructivist framework.

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