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Personifying Programming Tool Feedback Improves Novice Programmers Learning

Summary: Personifying Programming Tool Feedback
Improves Novice Programmers Learning
Michael J. Lee and Andrew J. Ko
The Information School | DUB Group
University of Washington
{mjslee, ajko}@uw.edu
Many novice programmers view programming tools as all-
knowing, infallible authorities about what is right and wrong about
code. This misconception is particularly detrimental to beginners,
who may view the cold, terse, and often judgmental errors from
compilers as a sign of personal failure. It is possible, however, that
attributing this failure to the computer, rather than the learner, may
improve learners' motivation to program. To test this hypothesis,
we present Gidget, a game where the eponymous robot protagonist
is cast as a fallible character that blames itself for not being able to
correctly write code to complete its missions. Players learn
programming by working with Gidget to debug its problematic
code. In a two-condition controlled experiment, we manipulated
Gidget's level of personification in: communication style, sound


Source: Anderson, Richard - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences