In this paper we describe the experience of a year-long experiment devoted to understanding if retention of knowledge acquired by students while learning a specific subject can be improved by letting them build by themselves interactive models of that knowledge by means of a visual programming language based on the block metaphor. What we propose is along the lines of active learning and learning-by-teaching. Students build an interactive model that tests the knowledge of a specific topic and it is assumed that the topic will be better memorized and understood than using standard learning strategies. To test this hypothesis, we run an experiment on the students of two 5th grade classes, split in three groups. One group learned the topic by both following standard explanations and by creating by themselves multimedia interactive projects by means of a block language. A second group learned by following standard explanations and by playing with multimedia interactive projects created by their peers in the first group. A third group learned by only following standard explanations. The experiment outcome shows that there is a significant improvement in the retention rate after several months for those students that build their digital tools by themselves with respect to both students that use digital tools built by others and students that do not use digital tools at all. It is our opinion that this strategy can be applied to topics of all disciplines, providing the bases of what we can define as programming-based learning, a general learning methodology based on computer programming.

Who learns better. Achieving long-term knowledge retention by programming-based learning

Stefano Federici;Claudia Medas;Elisabetta Gola
2018-01-01

Abstract

In this paper we describe the experience of a year-long experiment devoted to understanding if retention of knowledge acquired by students while learning a specific subject can be improved by letting them build by themselves interactive models of that knowledge by means of a visual programming language based on the block metaphor. What we propose is along the lines of active learning and learning-by-teaching. Students build an interactive model that tests the knowledge of a specific topic and it is assumed that the topic will be better memorized and understood than using standard learning strategies. To test this hypothesis, we run an experiment on the students of two 5th grade classes, split in three groups. One group learned the topic by both following standard explanations and by creating by themselves multimedia interactive projects by means of a block language. A second group learned by following standard explanations and by playing with multimedia interactive projects created by their peers in the first group. A third group learned by only following standard explanations. The experiment outcome shows that there is a significant improvement in the retention rate after several months for those students that build their digital tools by themselves with respect to both students that use digital tools built by others and students that do not use digital tools at all. It is our opinion that this strategy can be applied to topics of all disciplines, providing the bases of what we can define as programming-based learning, a general learning methodology based on computer programming.
2018
978-989-758-291-2
Knowledge Retention; Active Learning; Programming-based Learning; Exponentiation; Block Languages; Scratch; Computational Thinking
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/253017
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