Fender Play's approach goes deeper than simply teaching how to play songs. Our underlying assumption is that players are initially inspired by the songs they hear and want to learn, but what keeps them engaged is the motivation to practice.
To keep people learning something new, you have to motivate them to continue past the barriers that may cause them to quit. We used a research-based approach to design a curriculum with a primary goal of motivating players to continue playing.
Five key elements form the foundation of Fender's research-based pedagogy:
- Guided →
- We use sequenced Levels and Courses to hand-hold a new player through the process of learning to play.
- We build confidence through quick “wins” - whether it's by managing the depth of information given about a concept at different levels, or by teaching a cool riff in order to break up the learning process.
- We rely on good instructional design principles to “chunk” material appropriately. Players should feel like they can trust that what comes next is what they need.
- Active →
- We use a kinesthetic approach to teaching lessons. We do this by constantly prompting players to follow exercises that practice skills they just learned. Even theory becomes a hands-on experience.
- Because learning to play an instrument is active, we've sequenced the material so that it supports the overall psychomotor learning process.
- Bite-sized →
- We use micro-learning; most skill-focused lessons average 4 minutes in length. The goal of short lessons is to make the process feel manageable and realistic to accomplish.
- Short, frequent practice (distributed practice) tends to be most effective with psychomotor tasks.
- By tracking progress in the platform, the incentive to continue is higher. The progress numbers increase more quickly when the lessons are short and easy to finish.
- Integrated →
- Skills and concepts are purposefully sequenced so that the player experiences more than one related concept at a time. Interleaving concepts in this way promotes recall.
- There is a lot of repetition. The content is threaded and reviewed at multiple points throughout the program, which is the key to encoding (i.e., retention of learned material.)
- Song-driven →
- We use songs to inspire new players to learn and incorporate them into the curriculum path.
- Our songs have been hand-selected, arranged, and intentionally placed at certain points in the curriculum so that a new skill or concept can be practiced in context.
- In order to make songs accessible to brand new players, each one has been arranged so that it can be played in an abridged, simplified way.
- Our song lessons follow a ”whole-part-whole” approach, which is the most effective way to master a psychomotor skill. In addition to being an effective learning method, it helps to reduce anxiety that comes from performing something new.
To learn more about the research that backs our learning approach, read more in these articles:
“Teaching Strategies for Developing Psychomotor Skills” Lawther, 1966: Fischman, Christina, & Vercruyssen, 1982; Drake, 1981.
Diginole.lib.fsu.edu. (2006). Effects of Part-task and Whole-task instructional approaches and learner levels of expertise on learner performance of a complex cognitive task. [online] Available at: http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:182637/datastream/PDF/view [Accessed 11 Apr. 2018].
Bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu. (n.d.). Research | Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab. [online] Available at: https://bjorklab.psych.ucla.edu/research/#itemIII [Accessed 11 Apr. 2018].
Pan, S. and Pan, S. (2015). The Interleaving Effect: Mixing It Up Boosts Learning. [online] Scientific American. Available at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-interleaving-effect-mixing-it-up-boosts-learning/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2018].