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This paper presents a study that is part of a larger research project aimed at addressing the gap in the provision of educational software development processes for freshman, novice undergraduate learners, to improve proficiency levels. With the aim of understanding how such learners problem solve in software development in the absence of a formal process, this case study examines the experiences and depth of learning acquired by a sample set of novice undergraduates. A novel adaption of the Kirkpatrick framework known as AKM-SOLO is used to frame the evaluation. The study finds that without the scaffolding of an appropriate structured development process tailored to novices, students are in danger of failing to engage with the problem solving skills necessary for software development, particularly the skill of designing solutions prior to coding. It also finds that this lack of engagement directly impacts their affective state on the course and continues to negatively impact their proficiency and affective state in the second year of their studies leading to just under half of students surveyed being unsure if they wish to pursue a career in software development when they graduate.
Higgins C., O’Leary C., McAvinia C., Ryan B. (2020) Novice Learner Experiences in Software Development: A Study of Freshman Undergraduates. In: Lane H.C., Zvacek S., Uhomoibhi J. (eds) Computer Supported Education. CSEDU 2019. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1220. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58459-7_15