Learn to proGrAME

Learn coding by developing videogames

The basic idea of this project was to let students scientifically explore their learning of a programming language in a setting of video game development. In this endeavour, students open a gate - for themselves and for the researchers - to the genuine process of learning a programming language. In the course of this learning process, students moved beyond their roles of traditional learners and were actively reflecting and exchanging experiences about their learning. By this reflection and sharing with researchers the students contributed to the understanding of the learning process and the generation of new knowledge.

For most students, learning to program is a challenging task, often connected with numerous barriers to overcome. The project proGrAME aimed at investigating the learning process of fourteen to fifteen-year-old students (5th grade - Secondary School), who were learning to code via video game development. The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Vienna in cooperation with students of higher grades (in average aged seventeen) in the course of their psychology lessons. The development of the learning scenarios and tutorials was accomplished together with the sixteen to eighteen-year-old students in the higher-level computer science classes. Last but not least, the fourteen to fifteen-year-old students, who were subject to our research, were researchers at the same time. Scientists and students were going to work together on developing, employing and evolving didactical and practical scenarios. Moreover they identified problems, challenges and significant learning events in order to elaborate and improve sustainable learning solutions.

The lead research question was “Under which circumstances can the development of video games improve the learning of programming?” Besides the research and reflection of the learning process itself, research and workshops in the field of “games and gender” and “girls & boys in technology” were conducted.

This project has been completed.