Learning recursion through the use of a mental model-based programming environment

  • Shawkat Bhuiyan
  • Jim E. Greer
  • Gordon I. McCalla
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 608)


The mental model-based learning environment, PETAL, externalizes mental models for generating recursive programs into Programming Environment Tools (PETs). Such externalization supports cognitive and meta-cognitive problem-solving activity. PETs seem to help students internalize concepts, organize relevant knowledge, and lead to improved learning. The paper describes an empirical study to evaluate PETAL. Excerpts from protocols are discussed to show the evolution of one student's knowledge about recursion and recursive programming, the change from novice level to expert level induced by the PETs. Finally, the paper makes suggestions for incorporating cognitive support through user interfaces into Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawkat Bhuiyan
    • 1
  • Jim E. Greer
    • 1
  • Gordon I. McCalla
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.ARIES LaboratoryUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Visiting Scientist Learning Research and Development CenterUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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