Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Investigating Flipped Classroom and Problem-Based Learning in a Programming Module for Computing Conversion Course

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Investigating Flipped Classroom and Problem-Based Learning in a Programming Module for Computing Conversion Course

Article excerpt

Introduction

Edutainment is marriage of education and entertainment and specifically refers to entertainment that is designed to be educational (Aksalal, 2015). An edutainment-based pedagogy needs to be both educational and engaging/enjoyable. Edutainment is very relevant for education today as it aims to provide education with engagement. An important element is that the entertainment should not reduce the value of education and still meet the learning objectives.

Edutainment is especially relevant for subjects such as computer science and mathematics. In computer science education innovative pedagogies are really needed to engage students in subjects like programming as computer science topics (including programming) are not taught at secondary/high school level in many European countries and therefore, students do not have any background knowledge (Vlatko, 2015; Kebritchi, Ab Hamid & Fung, 2007; Hirumi & Bai, 2010; Passey, 2017). As programming is a new area for students in the college, they need to spend a lot of time solving programming problems and the classroom sessions are not able to fully support this. To learn programming concepts and to develop good programming skills one needs to learn to extract the algorithm from the requirements and then translate the algorithm to software code using the syntax of a particular language. To accomplish this a student needs to start with basic problems and programming tasks and gradually practice to complex problems (Winslow, 1996). Various approaches and pedagogical methods have been explored by researchers and educators to overcome the challenges with teaching and learning programming modules. A good approach to deal with programming is to motivate the students by using edutainment-based pedagogical strategies that may involve problem solving practical approaches, authentic context showing how the acquired knowledge will be used in real life, conceptual learning, collaborative learning, authentic activities, self-directed and active learning, practice and learning from failure, increased practical hours.

A relevant pedagogy for edutainment and engagement is constructivism (including socio-constructivism). Constructivist theory of education says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge through experience and reflection. The constructivist pedagogy is based on providing students the opportunities to use active learning techniques to create knowledge (real-world problem solving) and to construct their knowledge through discussion, collaboration and reflection (socio-constructivism). The constructivist pedagogy is suitable for teaching programming and can be quite effective (Wang, Dong & Li, 2012). Constructivism theory also believes in experiential learning which is based on the design of practical labs (kinaesthetic activities). Technology based pedagogies such as game based learning (GbL), flipped classroom (FC) and problem-based learning (PBL) are constructivist approaches that are based on providing education with edutainment.

GbL involves the use of gaming technology for educative purposes where students explore concepts in a learning context designed by teachers. Considering the advantages of games which are fun and engaging, combined with educational field, educational games make students to participate actively in an edutainment environment and help them learn while having fun. Previous research works have shown that game-based learning can have positive effects on important educational factors such as student motivation and engagement (Ghergulescu & Muntean, 2012; Muntean, El Mawas, Bradford & Pathak, 2018), learning effectiveness (Erhel & Jamet, 2013; Zhao, Chis, Muntean, & Muntean, 2018), as well as learning attitude, achievement and self-efficacy (Sung & Hwang, 2013). Moreover, game-based learning has the potential to facilitate the acquisition of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication (Qian & Clark, 2016). …

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