Looking “Under the hood” of learning computer programming: the emotional and cognitive differences between novices and beginners
Computer Science Education, 2023, 12 juin 2023, Patrick Charland
Backgroundand Context : Current programming learning research often compares novices and experienced programmers, leaving early learning stages and emotional and cognitive states under-explored.
Objective : Our study investigates relationships between cognitive and emotional states and learning performance in early stage programming learners with varying expertise (12 novices and 11 beginners; N = 23).
Method : Measures such as electrodermal activity, automated facial emotion recognition, and pupil diameter were collected to study cognitive and emotional states during a programming task. We examined how these states correlated with performance and the influence of expertise on these correlations.
Findings : Multiple regression analysis on panel data (n = 690 observations) suggested fear negatively impacts programming performance, irrespective of expertise level. Meanwhile, programming expertise positively moderated cognitive effort applied to the task.
Implications : Our findings highlight the importance for educators to design early programming experiences that anticipate and reduce fear and cognitive overload, promoting better learning outcomes.
Hugo G. Lapierre, Patrick Charland et Pierre-Majorique Léger
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