Examining the Effects of Two Computer Programming Learning Strategies: Self-Explanation versus Reading Questions and Answers

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Author:
Nancy Lee, Academic Concepts Educational Solutions (ACES), United States of America
Eunsook Hong, University of Nevada, United States of America
E-mail: nancylee999@gmail.com
Published: August 16, 2017
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.5.si.03

Citation: Lee, N., & Hong, E. (2017). Examining the Effects of Two Computer Programming Learning Strategies: Self-Explanation versus Reading Questions and Answers. IAFOR Journal of Education, 5(SI). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.5.si.03


Abstract

The study described here explored the differential effects of two learning strategies, self-explanation and reading questions and answers, on learning the computer programming language JavaScript. Students’ test performance and perceptions of effectiveness toward the two strategies were examined. An online interactive tutorial instruction implementing worked-examples and multimedia learning principles was developed for this study. Participants were 147 high school students (ages 14 to 18) of a computer introductory course in six periods which were randomly divided into two groups (n = 78; n = 69) of three periods each. The two groups alternated learning strategies to learn five lessons. Students’ prerequisite knowledge of XHTML and motivation to learn computer programming languages were measured before starting the tutorial. Students largely expressed their preference toward self-explanation over reading questions and answers. They thought self-explanation incurred much more work yet was more effective. However, the two learning strategies did not have differential effects on students’ test performance. The seeming discrepancy arising from students’ preferred strategy and their test performance was discussed in the areas of familiar versus new strategy, difficulty of learning materials and testing method, and experimental duration.

Keywords

learning strategy, self-explanation, computer language, JavaScript