A Structured Peer Interactive Method to Overcome the Learning Gaps of the Students
Badruzzaman, Khalid Been
Mahbubul Islam, Yousuf
MetadataShow full item record
Teaching the basics of programming languages to novice learners is a challenging task for teachers all over the world. Even after engaging the latest teaching methods and techniques, it is often found that students have problems in using data, conditions, sequences and loops which are considered the key concepts of programming. In this study, after taking a specially designed test, a web based peer teaching method was used to help students bridge the learning gaps. The design of the test helped to identify learning gaps while debugging simulated errors in a trivial program. To check the effectiveness of this method, a research frame was designed. In the research method it was ensured with a test that none of these students have any prior knowledge about programming. After completing certain level of the course, a test named pre-test was taken to test the level of the students and find out their difficulties in understanding of applying debugging steps, i.e., finding and fixing errors in a computer program. Pre-test score of the students proved that they needed to improve their skills of debugging, i.e., they have problems at differing steps of the process. To mitigate learning gaps, students were instructed to post their problems in debugging online, and their peers were instructed to help their friends overcome their learning gaps. After one week of intervention, a post-test was taken and this time score by the students were found to have improved significantly. One month after the post-test, a retention test was taken and the scores statistically showed that this technique helped the students to overcome their learning gaps as well as to retain their mastery of the debugging process. This web based peer interactive method was found effective to reduce learning gaps and it can be easily applied to any course provided the process steps are individually tested in a test. Without significant online involvement of a teacher the students can help each other to bridge the learning gaps and become more confident learners.
- Article