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Usability Evaluation of SOLA: An Object-Oriented Programming Environment for Children PROCEEDINGS

, , , James Cook University, Australia

World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, in Vancouver, Canada ISBN 978-1-880094-76-1 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

This paper presents a study and evaluation of a programming language designed for teaching Object-oriented programming to children. Many programming languages for children exist, and many reduce or remove the entering of code in an attempt to lower the learning burden on novice users. However this may dampen the learning of underlying programming concepts and transferability of skills. In this study a programming environment called the Students Object-oriented Language (SOLA) is developed to address these potential issues. SOLA was designed with a focus on ease-of-use, simple commands, and English-like syntax. We conducted a study to evaluate SOLA compared to C++. Comparisons were made across code writing, reading and debugging tasks. Time to complete and correctness for each task were measured. Results indicate a faster pickup time when writing SOLA code, as well as a better understanding when reading code, and finding errors. Further development and testing of SOLA will incorporate more complex programming capabilities, while maintaining a simple and easy to use syntax.

Citation

McArdle, E., Holdsworth, J. & Lui, S.M. (2009). Usability Evaluation of SOLA: An Object-Oriented Programming Environment for Children. In T. Bastiaens et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2009 (pp. 2922-2929). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

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