Transfer, Cognitive Load, and Program Design Difficulties

  • David Ginat
  • Eyal Shifroni
  • Eti Menashe
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7013)


We display a series of five studies of student difficulties with transfer during the design of computer programs. The difficulties are characterized with five transfer aspects – recognition, abstraction, mapping, embedment, and flexibility. Each study involves a programming task, and unfolds difficulties with one or more of the above aspects. The majority of the posed tasks were rather simple CS1 (Computer Science 1) or CS2 tasks, and involved specific transfer. One of the posed tasks was more involved and required both specific and non-specific transfer (and a subtler combination of the above aspects). We tie our findings to the notion of cognitive load, and its sub-notion of intrinsic cognitive load. Following our findings, we offer recommendations and guidelines for tutors, for developing improved transfer in program design.


Cognitive Load Cognitive Overload Student Difficulty Intrinsic Cognitive Load Specific Transfer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ginat
    • 1
  • Eyal Shifroni
    • 2
  • Eti Menashe
    • 1
  1. 1.Science Education DepartmentTel-Aviv UniversityTel-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Computer Science DepartmentTel-Hai CollegeIsrael

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