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Journal Articles Informatics in Education Year : 2021

A necessity-driven ride on the abstraction rollercoaster of CS1 programming

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Abstract

Introductory programming courses (CS1) are difficult for novices. Inspired by Problem solving followed by instruction and Productive Failure approaches, we define an original "necessity driven" learning design. Students are put in an apparently well-known situation, but this time they miss an essential ingredient (the target concept) to solve the problem. Then, struggling to solve it, they experience the necessity of that concept. A direct instruction phase follows. Finally, students return to the problem with the necessary knowledge to solve it. In a typical CS1 learning path, we recognise a challenging "rollercoaster of abstraction". We provide examples of learning sequences designed with our approach to support students when the abstraction changes (both upward and downward) inside the programming language, for example, when a new construct (and the related syntactical, conceptual, and strategic knowledge) is introduced. Also, we discuss the benefits of our design in light of Informatics education literature.
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Dates and versions

hal-03466065 , version 1 (04-12-2021)
hal-03466065 , version 2 (11-12-2021)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Marco Sbaraglia, Michael Lodi, Simone Martini. A necessity-driven ride on the abstraction rollercoaster of CS1 programming. Informatics in Education, 2021, 20 (4), pp.641-682. ⟨10.15388/infedu.2021.28⟩. ⟨hal-03466065v2⟩
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