The recent explosion of social media sites is creating an
unprecedented opportunity to build radically new types of learning
environments, which use all the capabilities of social media but
augmented with learning agents that can foster collaborative learning by
doing. Music is a potentially very attractive domain to test this idea.
There is an enormous need for education in music but personal music
tuition has become unaffordable or impossible due to the large increase
in demand. Very recently, social music media sites have sprung up, some
attracting close to a million amateurs and professional musicians. Users
share what they are doing within a community of trusted peers, give
comments, create pieces together, and establish commercial and social
relations. PRAISE proposes to go beyond what is currently available by
building learning agents to act as guardians and tutors in a community
of music practice who constantly monitor the student providing ongoing
personalised praise and feedback. The realisation of this vision
requires breakthroughs at two levels: pedagogical and technological.

At a pedagogical level we need to find new principles that can work
in these novel environments, such as personalised reflexive feedback,
and ways in which elements from the standard educational curricula can
be embedded seamlessly, triggered by personal needs. At a technological
level we need significant advances in real-time content, gesture and
linguistic analysis, community infrastructure, student modelling and
educational interaction design. The project will not only perform the
research needed to build a fully operational system but also carry out
exciting case studies targeting the acquisition of cognitively
challenging skills for Jazz and popular music both with children and
advanced learners. Giving praise will be the commonly agreed mechanism
for providing feedback so that the overall system stimulates the
motivation and enhances the confidence of learners.