Comparing Example-Based Collaborative Reflection to Problem Solving Practice for Learning during Team-Based Software Engineering Projects

07/01/2021
by   Sreecharan Sankaranarayanan, et al.
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Contributing to the literature on aptitude-treatment interactions between worked examples and problem-solving, this paper addresses differential learning from the two approaches when students are positioned as domain experts learning new concepts. Our evaluation is situated in a team project that is part of an advanced software engineering course. In this course, students who possess foundational domain knowledge but are learning new concepts engage alternatively in programming followed by worked example-based reflection. They are either allowed to finish programming or are curtailed after a pre-specified time to participate in a longer worked example-based reflection. We find significant pre- to post-test learning gains in both conditions. Then, we not only find significantly more learning when students participated in longer worked example-based reflections but also a significant performance improvement on a problem-solving transfer task. These findings suggest that domain experts learning new concepts benefit more from worked example-based reflections than from problem-solving.

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