Mental models are mental representations of how an action changes a problem state. Creating a mental model early in the learning process is a strong predictor of success in computer science classes. One major problem in computer science education, however, is that novices have difficulty creating mental models perhaps because of the cognitive overload caused by traditional teaching methods. The present study employed subgoal-labeled instructional materials to promote the creation of mental models when teaching novices to program in Android App Inventor. Utilizing this and other well-established educational tools, such as scaffolding, to reduce cognitive load in computer science education improved the performance of participants on novel tasks when learning to develop mobile applications.
Margulieux, Lauren; Guzdial, Mark; and Catrambone, Richard, "Subgoal-Labeled Instructional Material Improves Performance and Transfer in Learning to Develop Mobile Applications" (2012). Learning Sciences Faculty Publications. 33.