Learning transfer refers to the ability to correctly apply learned skills, knowledge and behaviors to new situations or contexts. This paper explores novice programmers' transfer through the analysis of two related coding tasks completed by CS1 students as part of their assessment. The first task was a take-home practical and the second task was a lab practical exam; both tasks requested the implementation of a C function with an integer parameter from which the digits are to be extracted and operated on. The solution set generated from each task by a cohort of 255 CS1 students has been explored and classified in order to determine the extent of transfer from the practice task to the later assessment task. This classification shows 36.5% of students consolidated or extended the acquired skills and 13% at least partly; 38%, on the other hand, failed to recall their previous valid strategy or to devise a better one, and were unsuccessful in the second task. On the positive side, 9% of students devised a different and improved strategy in the exam, indicating additional learning had occurred in between the two tasks. Peer review of key coding tasks could improve transfer by forcing weaker students to compare and evaluate different design strategies.

Learning Transfer in Novice Programmers: A Preliminary Study

Mirolo C.
2021

Abstract

Learning transfer refers to the ability to correctly apply learned skills, knowledge and behaviors to new situations or contexts. This paper explores novice programmers' transfer through the analysis of two related coding tasks completed by CS1 students as part of their assessment. The first task was a take-home practical and the second task was a lab practical exam; both tasks requested the implementation of a C function with an integer parameter from which the digits are to be extracted and operated on. The solution set generated from each task by a cohort of 255 CS1 students has been explored and classified in order to determine the extent of transfer from the practice task to the later assessment task. This classification shows 36.5% of students consolidated or extended the acquired skills and 13% at least partly; 38%, on the other hand, failed to recall their previous valid strategy or to devise a better one, and were unsuccessful in the second task. On the positive side, 9% of students devised a different and improved strategy in the exam, indicating additional learning had occurred in between the two tasks. Peer review of key coding tasks could improve transfer by forcing weaker students to compare and evaluate different design strategies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1209084
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