The challenge of promoting algorithmic thinking of both sciences- and humanities-oriented learners
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 31, Number 4, ISSN 1365-2729 Publisher: Wiley
The research results we present in this paper reveal that properly calibrated e-learning tools have potential to effectively promote the algorithmic thinking of both science-oriented and humanities-oriented students. After students had watched an illustration (by a folk dance choreography) and an animation of the studied sorting algorithm (bubble sort), they were invited to predict and perform [(1) to reconstruct on the same input; (2) to orchestrate on a random sequence stored in a white array; (3) to orchestrate on a black-box sequence] the entire step sequence of the algorithm (using the interactive visual learning environment we developed). The results of the experiment show that while science-oriented students' performance proved superior to those of their humanities-oriented colleagues, the differences were observed to diminish as both groups advanced with their e-learning tasks. Although drawing general conclusions would be premature, we can conclude that there are no unbridgeable differences in the way these two groups relate to e-learning processes that aim to promote algorithmic thinking. Our findings also emphasize the key importance of some motivational principles in facilitating algorithmic thinking: the principle of moderate and progressive challenge, the principle of gradual shift from concrete to abstract and the principle of genuine active involvement.
Katai, Z. (2015). The challenge of promoting algorithmic thinking of both sciences- and humanities-oriented learners. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 31(4), 287-299. Wiley.