Longitudinal think aloud study of a novice programmer

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology Series, 2014, 148 pp. 41 - 50
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© 2014, Australian Computer Society, Inc. Recent research from within a neo-Piagetian perspective proposes that novice programmers pass through the sensorimotor and preoperational stages before being able to reason at the concrete operational stage. However, academics traditionally teach and assess introductory programming as if students commence at the concrete operational stage. In this paper, we present results from a series of think aloud sessions with a single student, known by the pseudonym "Donald". We conducted the sessions mainly over one semester, with an additional session three semesters later. Donald first manifested predominately sensorimotor reasoning, followed by preoperational reasoning, and finally concrete operational reasoning. This longitudinal think aloud study of Donald is the first direct observational evidence of a novice programmer progressing through the neo-Piagetian stages.
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