Motivational Value of’s Code Studio Tutorials in an Undergraduate Programming Course

  • Guillaume NelEmail author
  • Liezel Nel
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 963)


As part of an instructional strategy to improve undergraduate software development students’ basic understanding of programming constructs, students completed a selection of Code Studio tutorials during the first three weeks of their programming course. Block-based environments, such as the one used by the Code Studio tutorials, typically make it easier for students to learn programming as they can focus on concepts instead of syntax. Students are, however, less likely to regard an instructional strategy as meaningful if it presents no motivational value for them. In this paper, Keller’s ARCS Model is used to organize the knowledge gained regarding student motivation and the motivational strategies supported by the Code Studio tutorials. Results obtained from analysis of numeric and narrative data collected through a paper-based self-completion questionnaire confirm the high motivation value of the Code Studio tutorials. The results provide insights regarding students’ perceptions of Code Studio tutorials as a motivational instructional strategy in an undergraduate programming course. Since students perceive the Code Studio tutorials to have some educational value, further investigations should be conducted to consider more appropriate and effective ways to integrate Code Studio tutorials with undergraduate programming curricula.


Block-based programming Motivation ARCS model Undergraduate students 


  1. 1.
    Ajzen, I.: The theory of planned behavior. Organ. Behav. Hum. Decis. Process. 50(2), 17–211 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barkley, E.F.: Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco (2010)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bennedsen, J., Caspersen, M.E.: Exposing the programming process. In: Bennedsen, J., Caspersen, M.E., Kölling, M. (eds.) Reflections on the Teaching of Programming: Methods and Implementations. LNCS, vol. 4821, pp. 6–16. Springer, Heidelberg (2008). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Coravu, L., Marian, M., Ganea, E.: Scratch and recreational coding for kids. In: 14th RoEduNet International Conference – Networking in Education and Research (RoEduNet NER), pp. 85–89. IEEE (2015)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    De Kereki, I.F.: Scratch: applications in computer science 1. In: 38th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference Proceedings, pp. 7–11. IEEE (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Du, J., Wimmer, H., Rada, R.: ‘Hour of Code’: can it change students’ attitudes toward programming? J. Inf. Technol. Educ. Innov. Pract. 15, 52–73 (2016)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Eranki, K.L.N., Moudgalya, K.M.: Program slicing technique: a novel approach to improve programming skills in novice learners. In: Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference on Information Technology Education (SIGITE 2016), pp. 160–165. ACM (2016)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Guay, F., Vallerand, R.J., Blanchard, C.: On the assessment of situational intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: the situational motivation scale (SIMS). Motiv. Emot. 24(3), 175–213 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Guzdial, M.: Programming environments for novices. In: Fincher, S., Petre, M. (eds.) Computer Science Education Research, pp. 127–154. Taylor & Francis (2004)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kelleher, C., Pausch, R.: Lowering the barriers to programming: a taxonomy of programming environments and languages for novice programmers. ACM Comput. Surv. 37(2), 83–137 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Keller, J.M.: Motivational Design for Learning and Performance: The ARCS Model Approach. Springer, Heidelberg (2010). Scholar
  12. 12.
    Keller, J.M.: Motivational design of instruction. In: Reigeluth, C.M. (ed.) Instructional-Design Theories and Models: An Overview of their Current Status, pp. 383–433. Lawrence Earlbaum Associates (1983)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Keller, J.M.: Strategies for stimulating the motivation to learn. Perform. Instr. 26(8), 1–7 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Korkmaz, O.: The effect of scratch- and lego mindstorms Ev3-based programming activities on academic achievement, problem-solving skills and logical-mathematical thinking skills of students. Malays. Online J. Educ. Sci. 4(3), 73–88 (2016)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Krapp, A., Hidi, S., Renninger, K.A.: Interest, Learning and Development. In: Renninger, A., Hidi, S., Krapp, A. (eds.) The Role of Interest in Learning and Development, pp. 3–25. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (1992)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lahtinen, E., Ala-Mutka, K., Järvinen, H.: A study of the difficulties of novice programmers. In: Proceedings of the 10th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE 2005) (2005). ACM SIGCSE Bull. 37(3), 14–18 (2005)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Loorbach, N., Peters, O., Karreman, J., Steehouder, M.: Validation of the instructional materials motivation survey (IMMS) in a self-directed instructional setting aimed at working with technology. Br. J. Educ. Technol. 46(1), 204–218 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    McMillan, J.H., Schumacher, S.: Research in Education: Evidence-Based Inquiry, 6th edn. Pearson Education, London (2006)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Nikou, S.A., Economides, A.A.: Measuring student motivation during ‘The Hour of Code’ activities. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), pp. 744–745. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nikou, S.A., Economides, A.A.: Transition in student motivation during a Scratch and an App Inventor course. In: Proceedings of the Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), pp. 1042–1045. IEEE (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ouahbi, I., Kaddari, F., Darhmaoui, H., Elachqar, A., Lahmine, S.: Learning basic programming concepts by creating games with scratch programming environment. Procedia Soc. Behav. Sci. 191, 1479–1482 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Plowright, D.: Using Mixed Methods: Frameworks for an Integrated Methodology. SAGE, Thousand Oaks (2011)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Price, T.W., Barnes, T.: Position paper: block-based programming should offer intelligent support for learners. In: Proceedings of the Blocks and Beyond Workshop (B&B), pp. 65–68. IEEE (2017)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sentance, S., Csizmadia, A.: Computing in the curriculum: challenges and strategies from a teacher’s perspective. Educ. Inf. Technol. 22(2), 469–495 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Soloway, E., Bonar, J., Ehrlich, K.: Cognitive strategies and looping constructs: an empirical study. Commun. ACM 26(11), 853–860 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Spohrer, J.C., Soloway, E.: Putting it all together is hard for novice programmers. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, pp. 728–735. IEEE (1985)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Trowler, V.: Student Engagement Literature Review. Higher Education Academy, York (2010)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wang, T.C., Mei, W.H., Lin, S.L., Chiu, S.K., Lin, J.M.C.: Teaching programming concepts to high school students with Alice. In: Proceedings of the 39th Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE 2009), pp. 955–960. IEEE (2009)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Weintrop, D., Wilensky, U.: To block or not to block, that is the question: students’ perceptions of blocks-based programming. In: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, pp. 199–208. ACM (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information TechnologyCentral University of Technology, Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and InformaticsUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations