Managing programmed instruction and collaborative peer tutoring in the classroom: Applications in teaching Java™

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Citation of Original Publication

Emurian, Henry H.; Holden, Heather K.; Abarbanel, Rachel A.; Managing programmed instruction and collaborative peer tutoring in the classroom: Applications in teaching Java™; Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 576-614, 28 March 2007;


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To fulfill part of the course requirements, 34 undergraduate students in two courses completed an online programmed instruction tutor as the first technical training exercise in a Java™ programming course designed for information systems majors. The tutor taught a simple JApplet program to display a text string within a browser window on the Web. Students in the first course next participated in a collaborative peer tutoring session, based on the JApplet program, followed by a lecture on the program and by successfully running the program on the Web. For the second course, the peer tutoring session was scheduled after the lecture and after successfully running the program. Students in both courses completed tests of far transfer (“meaningful learning”) and software self-efficacy before using the tutor and on several subsequent occasions following that initial learning. Students in the second course also completed a 4-item scale to assess the development of classification and functionality knowledge regarding elements of the program. Students in both courses showed progressive improvement in all performance measures across the several assessment occasions. Students’ positive ratings of the effectiveness of both the tutor and the collaborative peer tutoring supported the value of these learning experiences in a technical knowledge domain. The results of this study, based on student performance observed within the context of the classroom, show the importance of providing a range of synergistic learning experiences that culminate in a level of skill and confidence that prepares and motivates all students for advanced instruction in Java. They also show how to manage the instructional techniques in the classroom to accomplish that educational outcome.