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Ensemble of Teaching/Learning Pedagogies Applied to Software Coding to Enhance Learning Outcome

conference contribution
posted on 25.03.2022, 08:58 authored by Bernard Loke
Introduction
McKinsey Report 2021 (Title: The top trends in tech), identified “future of programming” as one of top 10 technology trend. As part of the future of programming, simplified software development tools have gained momentum e.g. Low-Code tools. However, text-based programming (still the most powerful and flexible method) is still limited to small percentage of tech talent, due to the difficulty in training software developers. Thus, huge importance for future of programming to innovate a simple to use text-based programming platform. The aim of this talk is to explore a better and easier way to teach and learn coding based on these 3 hypotheses: 1) Software Coding difficulty supplemented by having alternate technological tools, instead of using traditional text-based editor. 2) Design Thinking skills is highly complementary to software coding to assist in code flow. 3) Traditional learning pedagogy (i) declarative vs procedural, (ii) reinforcement and (iii) interleaving, can be applied to learning software coding.

Methods
A series of workshop was conducted for students from ITE, JC, Poly and University, to delivery an easy to learn approach to software coding. More than 60 participants in 4 separate workshops. The average self-declared skill-level in software coding was 2 (0 is nil, 10 is expert). The workshop was partition into 2 sections; Part 1 Design Thinking and how to apply to software coding and Part 2 describing the various form of software coding examples. After the workshop, selected students were invited to try out a novel software coding tool; Cody Software Platform. This is a hybrid text-based editor tool, using a combination of schema and structured software statement declaration. The resulting software statement is assured free of syntax-error. Participants used Cody to learn and perform hands-on coding during this try out session. Both, the workshops and the Cody tool try out session, applied 3 main leaning pedagogies namely, declarative vs procedural, reinforcement and interleaving methods. These methods were interjected with interactive and engaging hands-on activities. In addition, teaching materials were created from scratch based on these methodologies to achieve superior learning experience.

Results
At the end of the Workshop a survey was conducted to evaluate the understanding of the topic. For the Design Thinking session, the score was 4.5 (maximum score of 5). For the Software Coding session, the score was lower at 3.5 (maximum score of 5), due to the difficulty in understanding the materials in software coding. For the Cody try-out session, a survey was also conducted to evaluate the learning experience and the ease of using Cody tool in coding. The score was 4.7 (maximum score of 5). The most significant observation, (i) when using Cody, participants were able to perform coding immediately with minimal supervision, thus improving score from 3.5 (during the workshop) to 4.7 (during the try-out session), (ii) this was reinforced during the qualitative feedback at the end of each try-out session, participants invariably mentioned the ease and confidence of software coding when using Cody. Evaluation of the learning pedagogy is qualitative based the participant’s responsiveness during Workshop and Cody try-out session. This evaluation is conducted by a passive 2nd trainer (non-teaching trainer attending the session) in monitoring the participants’ face video and video recording review.

Conclusion
Similar to other research, our findings support the hypothesis of alternate approach and tools (Cody in this research) to ease cognitive load while learning of software coding. The results from the workshop survey also shows the relevance of Design Thinking applying to software coding. The enhanced learners experience and positive learning outcome strongly demonstrated that traditional learning pedagogies together with an innovative tool and provide new “future of programming”.

History

Journal/Conference/Book title

Applied Learning Conference 2022, 20-21 January 2022, Online

Publication date

2022-01