Formations of transfer among patterns, problems, music, and more

Joseph Zajdel, Tennessee State University


Transfer experiments, conducted over the course of a century, have yielded inconsistent results while lacking insights into the actual relations people construct as they engage in transfer tasks. The reasons for these inconsistent results have been elusive, and this has lead to criticism of transfer experiments themselves. Despite increasingly broad conceptualizations of transfer, there has been a lack of inquiry to learn more about the relations among tasks that research participants do or do not transfer within the parameters of the experiments. Future transfer experiments are likely to yield similar inconsistencies if research designs are not better informed from the perspectives of the participants. When no further explanations are offered, the usefulness of those experiments is limited with regard to research and the development of curricula and instruction designed to facilitate transfer. A grounded theory design was used along with Lobato's (2003) actor oriented transfer (AOT) in order to investigate the processes by which relations are constructed and transferred among initial music tasks and targeted problem tasks. A theoretical model emerged in which a process of transfer is explained by way of a continuum of musical experience, in conjunction with participants' constructed relations, and the results of having transferred those relations. Participants with higher amounts of contiguous musical experience tended to have less difficulty in solving the targeted (non-musical) problem tasks than those with less contiguous musical experience. The insights gained from this research can serve to better inform future transfer research, curriculum development, and instructional practices by providing further understandings of transfer from the participants' perspectives.

Subject Area

Music education|Educational psychology|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Joseph Zajdel, "Formations of transfer among patterns, problems, music, and more" (2014). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3623335.