Linxiao Ma, John Ferguson, Marc Roper, Murray Wood

The aim of this project is to investigate and improve the mental models used by students on introductory programming courses. Recent research has found many students lack viable mental models of the fundamental programming concepts that form a precursor to problem-solving and computer programming. Early investigations have shown that students who hold viable mental models perform better in programming tasks than those that hold non-viable mental models. This result has highlighted the importance of detecting non-viable models at an early stage and is currently investigating conceptual change and visualisation as a means of improving these models.