Comparison of text-based and visual-based programming input methods for first-time learners

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    Abstract

    Aim/Purpose When learning to program, both text-based and visual-based input methods are common. However, it is unclear which method is more appropriate for first-time learners (first learners). Background The differences in the learning effect between text-based and visual-based in-put methods for first learners are compared the using a questionnaire and problems to assess first learners' understanding of programming. In addition, we study the benefits and feasibility of both methods. Methodology In this research, we used the sandbox game Minecraft and the extended func-tion ComputerCraftEdu (CCEdu). CCEdu provides a Lua programming envi-ronments for the two (text and visual) methods inside Minecraft. We conduct-ed a lecture course on both methods for first learners in Japan ranging in age from 6 to about 15 years old. The lecture taught the basics and concepts of programming. Furthermore, we implemented a questionnaire about the atti-tude of programming before and after the lecture. Contribution This research is more than a comparison between the visual method and the text method. It compares visual input and text input methods in the same en-vironment. It clearly shows the difference between the programming learning effects of visual input and text input for first learners. In addition, it shows the more suitable input method for introductory education of first learners in programming learning. Findings The following results are revealed: (1) The visual input method induces a larg-er change in attitude toward programming; (2) The number of operations and input quantity influence both groups; (3) The overall results suggest that a vis-ual input is advantageous in a programming implementation environment for first learners. Impact on Society A visual input method is better suited for first learners as it improves the atti-tude toward programming. Future Research In the future, we plan to collect and analyze additional data as well as elucidate the correlation between attitudes and understanding of programming.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3775
    Pages (from-to)209-226
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Information Technology Education: Research
    Volume16
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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    Keywords

    • Game-based learning
    • Minecraft programming input method
    • Programming-learning

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science(all)
    • Education

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