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Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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A web-based learning model for improving programming students' mental models

Ma, L. and Ferguson, J. D. and Roper, M. and Ross, I. and Wood, M. (2008) A web-based learning model for improving programming students' mental models. In: Proceedings of the 9th annual conference of the subject centre for information and computer sciences. HE Academy, pp. 88-94. ISBN 9780955967603

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Abstract

Recent research has found that many programming students often hold non-viable mental models of basic programming concepts such as assignment and object reference. To improve those students’ mental models, a constructivist-based learning model, integrating a cognitive conflict strategy with program visualisation, was proposed by the authors. In addition, a web-based learning environment has been developed to offer a practical tool for instructors and students to use the proposed learning model for teaching and learning. This paper describes this learning environment and also presents a preliminary study that was conducted to investigate the performance of this learning environment. The results of this study reveal that the learning environment is effective in helping students construct viable mental models of a relative simple concept, namely value assignment. The current aim of this work is to extend the environment to cover a number of key programming concepts and to make it available to fellow researchers and instructors for further investigation in their own teaching contexts.