Learnable Programming: Blocks and Beyond

05/26/2017 ∙ by David Bau, et al. ∙ 0

Blocks-based programming has become the lingua franca for introductory coding. Studies have found that experience with blocks-based programming can help beginners learn more traditional text-based languages. We explore how blocks environments improve learnability for novices by 1) favoring recognition over recall, 2) reducing cognitive load, and 3) preventing errors. Increased usability of blocks programming has led to widespread adoption within introductory programming contexts across a range of ages. Ongoing work explores further reducing barriers to programming, supporting novice programmers in expanding their programming skills, and transitioning to textual programming. New blocks frameworks are making it easier to access a variety of APIs through blocks environments, opening the doors to a greater diversity of programming domains and supporting greater experimentation for novices and professionals alike.

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