ERIC Number: ED265177
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
The Role of Mental Models in Learning to Program.
Pirolli, Peter L.; Anderson, John R.
This study reports two experiments which indicate that the processes of providing subjects with insightful representations of example programs and guiding subjects through an "ideal" problem solving strategy facilitate learning. A production system model (GRAPES) has been developed that simulates problem-solving and learning in the domain of writing recursive functions. In the first experiment, a mental model of recursion that employed the given representation (structure model) was contrasted with a model of recursion that emphasized how recursive functions are evaluated (evaluation model). Two groups of subjects were tested using these models, and, in the training phase, both groups reached the same level of proficiency. However, data suggest that the structure model group reached this level in a more efficient manner, having learned a general strategy for structuring their code very early on in the training phase. In the second experiment, members of the GRAPES research group implemented and tested a computer-based system for tutoring LISP. Students of a LISP programming course were divided into two groups, one that interacted with the LISP tutor and another that worked in a standard LISP environment. Overall performance for students interacting with the LISP tutor was superior to those who did not interact with the tutor. (Author/LMO)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA. Personnel and Training Research Programs Office.
Authoring Institution: N/A