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When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect: Effects of Task Goals on Learning Computing Concepts

When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect: Effects of Task Goals on Learning Computing Concepts When Practice Doesn ™t Make Perfect: Effects of Task Goals on Learning Computing Concepts CRAIG S. MILLER and AMBER SETTLE, DePaul University Specifying le references for hypertext links is an elementary competence that nevertheless draws upon core computational thinking concepts such as tree traversal and the distinction between relative and absolute references. In this article we explore the learning effects of different instructional strategies in the context of an introductory computing course. Results suggest that asking students to do targeted tasks, albeit supported with working examples, is not the best preparation. Instead, unstructured study of examples produces superior learning. Answering targeted conceptual questions can also yield comparably positive learning but only in quali ed contexts. While perhaps unintuitive, these results are consistent with a long line of research on human cognition and learning. We discuss our results in the context of this previous research and recommend effective instructional strategies, which may apply to a broad range of computational concepts. Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.3.2 [Computers and Education]: Computer and Information Science Education General Terms: Design, Human Factors, Languages Additional Key Words and Phrases: development Computational thinking, le referencing, tree structures, Web ACM Reference Format: Miller, C. S. and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Association for Computing Machinery

When Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect: Effects of Task Goals on Learning Computing Concepts

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Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by ACM Inc.
ISSN
1946-6226
DOI
10.1145/2048931.2048933
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

When Practice Doesn ™t Make Perfect: Effects of Task Goals on Learning Computing Concepts CRAIG S. MILLER and AMBER SETTLE, DePaul University Specifying le references for hypertext links is an elementary competence that nevertheless draws upon core computational thinking concepts such as tree traversal and the distinction between relative and absolute references. In this article we explore the learning effects of different instructional strategies in the context of an introductory computing course. Results suggest that asking students to do targeted tasks, albeit supported with working examples, is not the best preparation. Instead, unstructured study of examples produces superior learning. Answering targeted conceptual questions can also yield comparably positive learning but only in quali ed contexts. While perhaps unintuitive, these results are consistent with a long line of research on human cognition and learning. We discuss our results in the context of this previous research and recommend effective instructional strategies, which may apply to a broad range of computational concepts. Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.3.2 [Computers and Education]: Computer and Information Science Education General Terms: Design, Human Factors, Languages Additional Key Words and Phrases: development Computational thinking, le referencing, tree structures, Web ACM Reference Format: Miller, C. S. and

Journal

ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE)Association for Computing Machinery

Published: Nov 1, 2011

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