Subgoals, context, and worked examples in learning computing problem solving

Briana B. Morrison, Lauren E. Margulieux, Mark Guzdial

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent empirical results suggest that the instructional material used to teach computing may actually overload students' cognitive abilities. Better designed materials may enhance learning by reducing unnecessary load. Subgoal labels have been shown to be effective at reducing the cognitive load during problem solving in both mathematics and science. Until now, subgoal labels have been given to students to learn passively. We report on a study to determine if giving learners subgoal labels is more or less effective than asking learners to generate subgoal labels within an introductory CS programming task. The answers are mixed and depend on other features of the instructional materials. We found that student performance gains did not replicate as expected in the introductory CS task for those who were given subgoal labels. Computer science may require different kinds of problem-solving or may generate different cognitive demands than mathematics or science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages21-30
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450336284
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 9 2015
Event11th Annual ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research, ICER 2015 - Omaha, United States
Duration: Aug 9 2015Aug 13 2015

Publication series

NameICER 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research

Other

Other11th Annual ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research, ICER 2015
CountryUnited States
CityOmaha
Period8/9/158/13/15

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Keywords

  • Cognitive load
  • Contextual transfer
  • Subgoal labels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education

Cite this

Morrison, B. B., Margulieux, L. E., & Guzdial, M. (2015). Subgoals, context, and worked examples in learning computing problem solving. In ICER 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (pp. 21-30). (ICER 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/2787622.2787733