Subgoal learning has improved student problem-solving performance in programming, but it has been tested for only one-to-two hours of instruction at a time. Our work pioneers implementing subgoal learning throughout an entire introductory programming course. In this paper we discuss the protocol that we used to identify subgoals for core programming procedures, present the subgoal labels created for the course, and outline the subgoal-labeled instructional materials that were designed for a Java-based course. To examine the effect of subgoal labeled materials on student performance in the course, we compared quiz and exam grades between students who learned using subgoal labels and those who learned using conventional materials. Initial results indicate that learning with subgoals improves performance on early applications of concepts. Moreover, variance in performance was lower and persistence in the course was higher for students who learned with subgoals compared to those who learned with conventional materials, suggesting that learning with subgoal labels may uniquely benefit students who would normally receive low grades or dropout of the course.
Lauren Margulieux, Briana B. Morrison and Adrienne Decker. 2019. Design and Pilot Testing of Subgoal Labeled Worked Examples for Five Core Concepts in CS1. In Proc. of the 24th Annual Conf. on Innovation & Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE’19). July 15–17, 2019, Aberdeen, Scotland UK., ACM, New York, NY, USA, https://doi.org/10.1145/3304221.3319756
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