Transfer, Cognitive Load, and Program Design Difficulties
We display a series of five studies of student difficulties with transfer during the design of computer programs. The difficulties are characterized with five transfer aspects – recognition, abstraction, mapping, embedment, and flexibility. Each study involves a programming task, and unfolds difficulties with one or more of the above aspects. The majority of the posed tasks were rather simple CS1 (Computer Science 1) or CS2 tasks, and involved specific transfer. One of the posed tasks was more involved and required both specific and non-specific transfer (and a subtler combination of the above aspects). We tie our findings to the notion of cognitive load, and its sub-notion of intrinsic cognitive load. Following our findings, we offer recommendations and guidelines for tutors, for developing improved transfer in program design.
KeywordsCognitive Load Cognitive Overload Student Difficulty Intrinsic Cognitive Load Specific Transfer
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Astrachan, O., Berry, G., Cox, L., Mitchener, G.: Design patterns: an essential component of CS Curricula. In: SIGCSE 1998, pp. 153–160 (1998)Google Scholar
- 3.Linn, M.C.: The cognitive consequences of programming instruction in classrooms. Educational Researcher, 14–19 (1985)Google Scholar
- 5.Mayer, R., Wittrock, M.: Problem-Solving Transfer. In: Berliner, D., Calfee, R. (eds.) Handbook of Educational Psychology, pp. 47–62. Erlbaum, Mahwah (2006)Google Scholar
- 6.Muller, O., Haberman, B., Ginat, D.: Pattern-oriented instruction and its influence on problem decomposition and solution construction. In: Proceedings of ITiCSE 2007, pp. 151–155 (2007)Google Scholar
- 9.Sternberg, R.J.: Metaphors of Mind: Conceptions of the nature of Intelligence. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1990)Google Scholar