Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview

A Flow-chart Based Learning System for
Computer Programming

Kuo-Hung Huang,1 Kuohua Wang,2 S. Y. Chiu2
1 Hung Kuang Institute of Technology, Taiwan; 2 National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan


1
Introduction

After years of action research on computer programming instruction, we found that the novice programmers encountered the difficulties of converting their plans into codes when solving problems. Although they know how to solve the problems, most of the beginners are not able to use the programming language to express their plans. It seems that there is a gap between plans and code in computer language. We decide to develop a computer-based scaffolding system to help the students to cross the gap.


2
Design Strategies

Many research results showed, using flow charts to teach computer programming would help the novices to concentrate on the program design without knowing the syntactic details of the language ( Dalbey and Linn 1985; Scanlan and Clark 1988). Novices can easily use flow charts to express their naive plans. However, the task of implementing their plans in computer language will confront the novice programmers with an enormous gap ( Bonar and Liffick 1990). Our flow-chart based learning system is aimed to bridge the gap. Combining the flow charts and graphic interface tools, we design a visual learning, system to enhance the beginners' learning by improving the communication qualities and reducing the cognitive loads ( Baroth and Hartsough 1994).

We choose C language as the target language of our learning system. Based on the outcome of several empirical studies ( Eisenberg 1995; McCalla 1992), we adopt the following design strategies:

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