Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Learning a programing language typically involves acquisition of new vocabulary, punctuation, and grammatical structures in order to communicate with a computer. In other words, learning a programming language is like learning a human language. A recent study also showed that programmers use language regions of the brain when understanding source code and found little activation in other regions of the brain devoted to mathematical thinking. Even though programming code involved mathematical operations, conditionals, and loop iterations, researchers found that programming had less in common with mathematics and more in common with human language. In our study, we applied the well-developed cognitive framework used in second language acquisition (SLA), into a Blended Learning (aBLe) programming language course. We believe this approach can accommodate a variety of learning needs and abilities, while potentially increasing student engagement in online components, reducing the intimidation and anxiety associated with learning programming languages, and providing better preparation for face-to-face classes. SLA-aBLe will encourage the development of problem solving skills needed to persist in their higher education. The online module consists of a series of short videos (12 minutes), online quizzes with tiered questions including program writing problems, and a topic-specific discussion board led by student researchers. Lab practice time is used to augment the online content through collaborative learning exercises, such as think, pair, and share. The SLA-aBLe program utilized strategies in five stages defined in SLA practice, such as more self-testing, tiered questions and visual-aided explanations in the screencasts, more online programming writing assessments, more collaboration, and ‘speak aloud’ in the lab. In the past two years, we have conducted a series of assessments to measure program outcomes, including student demographics, perceptions, attitudes, and satisfaction level comparing SLA-aBLe, and control groups. Students’ academic performance between SLA-aBLe course sections and Non-SLA sections were compared as well.
Sun, L., & Frederick, C., & Liron, C., & Ding, L., & Gu, L., & Griggs, A. C., & Sanjuan Espejo, P., & Sanjuan Espejo, P. (2018, June), Motivating Students to Learn a Programming Language: Applying a Second Language Acquisition Approach in a Blended Learning Environment Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30823
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