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January 2022

Comparison of melodic and verbal presentation modes on auditory serial learning by learning disabled children

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of musical mnemonic devices on the learning patterns of learning disabled children. A total of 33 fifth and sixth grade learning disabled students from seven self-contained special education classes participated in the study with the written permission of parents or guardians. Subjects were assigned randomly to one of three experimental conditions: verbal, melodic with a familiar melody, or melodic with an unfamiliar melody. They were tested individually on an auditory serial learning task in which the were asked to learn a list of words. Data were collected for each subject to consider the following variables: rate of learning, defined as the number of trials to the criterion of two consecutive correct trials, and accuracy of responses, defined as ratio of correct individual word responses to the total possible number of responses. One-Way Analysis of Variance were computed to test for differences between the experimental groups on each variable. Results showed no significant differences between the groups on either variable. The results of this study imply that neither familiar no unfamiliar musical presentations affect sequencing and memory skills significantly in learning disabled children. Implications of this study indicated a need for further study to consider the following issues: familiarity, auditory presentation, training and cuing in the use of mnemonics, and methods of measuring serial learning. Information on these issues are integral to the development of effective uses of music with learning disabled children.

Keyword(s): melodic, verbal, mnemonics, learning-ability, learning-disability, children, elementary, memory.


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