Improving the viability of mental models held by novice programmers

L. Ma, J. Ferguson, M. Roper, M. Wood

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Abstract

Recent research has found that many novice programmers often hold non-viable mental models of basic programming concepts such as assignment and object reference. This paper proposes a constructivist-based teaching model, integrating a cognitive conflict strategy with program visualization, with the aim of improving novice programmers’ mental models. The results of a preliminary empirical study suggest that, for the relatively straightforward concept of assignment, tight integration of program visualization with a cognitive conflict event that highlights a student’s inappropriate understanding can help improve students’ non-viable mental models. 14 out of 18 participants who held non-viable mental models of the assignment process successfully changed their model to be viable as a result of the proposed teaching model.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Jul 2007
EventEleventh Workshop on Pedagogies and Tools for the Teaching and Learning of Object Oriented Concepts. ECOOP Workshops 2007 - , United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 2007 → …

Conference

ConferenceEleventh Workshop on Pedagogies and Tools for the Teaching and Learning of Object Oriented Concepts. ECOOP Workshops 2007
CountryUnited Kingdom
Period1/07/07 → …

Keywords

  • programmers
  • mental models
  • novice programmers

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    Ma, L., Ferguson, J., Roper, M., & Wood, M. (2007). Improving the viability of mental models held by novice programmers. Eleventh Workshop on Pedagogies and Tools for the Teaching and Learning of Object Oriented Concepts. ECOOP Workshops 2007, United Kingdom.