A qualitative think aloud study of the early neo-piagetian stages of reasoning in novice programmers

Donna Teague, Malcolm Comey, Alireza Ahadi, Raymond Lister

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research indicates that some of the difficulties faced by novice programmers are manifested very early in their learning. In this paper, we present data from think aloud studies that demonstrate the nature of those difficulties. In the think alouds, novices were required to complete short programming tasks which involved either hand executing ("tracing") a short piece of code, or writing a single sentence describing the purpose of the code. We interpret our think aloud data within a neo-Piagetian framework, demonstrating that some novices reason at the sensorimotor and preoperational stages, not at the higher concrete operational stage at which most instruction is implicitly targeted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACE 2013
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 15th Australasian Computing Education Conference
EditorsJacqueline Whalley, Angela Carbone
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherAustralian Computer Society
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781921770210
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralasian Computing Education Conference (15th : 2013) - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 29 Jan 20131 Feb 2013

Publication series

NameConferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology
ISSN (Print)1445-1336


ConferenceAustralasian Computing Education Conference (15th : 2013)
Abbreviated titleACE 2013


  • neo-Piagetian
  • programming
  • think aloud

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