Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Learning & Personality Types: A Case Study of a Software Design Course

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Learning & Personality Types: A Case Study of a Software Design Course

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Software Engineering curriculum in most of the universities around the world aims to provide education and hands-on training in various phases of the software development life cycle. The waterfall model of the software development cycle is generally covered in the curriculum of software engineering, despite being classified as an old approach to software development. Design is a fundamental activity in software development and involves the identification of the major sub-systems and their relationship at an abstract level. It involves problem solving and creating a workable and implementable solution. The software design is ultimately translated into code, which takes the physical shape of the software running on any machine. According to Budgen (2003) the design process in its classical form is a scientific approach to problem solving typically consisting of observing the characteristics of some phenomenon, making measurements of these, building a theory to explain them, and then seeking to verify these. According to Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (Hilburn, Hirmanpour, Khajenoori, Turner, & Qasem, 1999):

   Software design area is concerned with the transformation of the
   statement of requirements into a description of how these
   requirements are to be implemented. Software design consists of
   activities such as architectural design, abstract specification,
   interface design, component design, data structure design, tasking
   design, and algorithm design. Software design uses a variety of
   techniques and forms of representation, each providing a capability
   for capturing and expressing a different view of the system. (p.
   17)

The psychological hypothesis that not everyone can perform all tasks effectively reveals that personality traits or types play a critical role in the performance of people executing the same task. The personality type of an individual generates a great deal of impact on the performance of various activities that humans can carry out. The behavior of individuals with a particular type of personality reflects the way these people perceive the world and make decisions. This personality type classification covers many aspects of human behavior such as attitude, action and reaction, thinking, learning, feeling, and lifestyle. In this work we are concentrating on the role of personality type in learning one of the core phases of software development life cycle. The study will aid us in understanding how different personality types of the students influence progress in a software design course. Keeping in view the significantly important phases of the software development cycle, the objective of this study is to investigate the impact of the personality type in acquiring the knowledge and necessary skills for the design process. The overall objective of this study is to find an answer to the following research question (RQ):

RQ: Does personality type have an impact on the learning capability of the students in acquiring skills and knowledge of the software design process?

Literature Survey

There have been several studies that have dealt with the personality types, particularly in computer science and software engineering education. It is a common phenomenon that people have different personality traits, and the way they perceive, plan, and execute any assigned task is influenced by it. Software is a product of human activity, which often includes problem solving capabilities, cognitive aspects, and social interaction. On the other hand, human beings are more complicated and less predictable than computers. Therefore, the complexity of human personality gives rise to intricate dynamics along software development that cannot be ignored, but have often been overlooked. In their paper, McCaulley, MacDavid, and Walsh (1987) provide empirical evidence that the students having the personality traits of introvert and thinker are most likely to complete their degree programs, while students classified as extroverts and perceivers do not move along with their degree completion requirements. …

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