Designing engaging learning experiences in programming

Chris Martin, Janet Hughes (Lead / Corresponding author), John Richards

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we describe work to investigate the creation of engaging programming learning experiences. Background research informed the design of four fieldwork studies to explore how programming tasks could be framed to motivate learners. Our empirical findings from these four field studies are summarized here, with a particular focus upon one – Whack a Mole – which compared the use of a physical interface with the use of a screen-based equivalent interface to obtain insights into what made for an engaging learning experience. Emotions reported by two sets of participant undergraduate students were analyzed, identifying the links between the emotions experienced during programming and their origin. Evidence was collected of the very positive emotions experienced by learners programming with a physical interface (Arduino) in comparison with a similar program developed using a screen-based equivalent interface. A follow-up study provided further evidence of the motivation of personalized design of programming tangible physical artefacts. Collating all the evidence led to the design of a set of ‘Learning Dimensions’ which may provide educators with insights to support key design decisions for the creation of engaging programming learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputers Supported Education
Subtitle of host publication9th International Conference, CSEDU 2017, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsPaula Escudeiro, Gennaro Costagliola, Susan Zvacek, James Uhomoibhi, Bruce M. McLaren
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783319946405
ISBN (Print)9783319946399
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, CSEDU 2017 - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 21 Apr 201723 Apr 2017

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929


Conference9th International Conference on Computer Supported Education, CSEDU 2017


  • Learning Dimensions
  • Motivation
  • Programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Mathematics


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