This thesis describes and analyses an experimental study (2003) which was carried out as a part of the COOL (Comprehensive Object-Oriented Learning) project, which was an introductory course in computer programming. Participants were students in their start of the 1st semester at Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo. My hypothesis: Can a didactic approach based upon guiding and student driven progression, contribute toobtain knowledge in object oriented concept building. The students did achieve their knowledge by practice on a computer.
The didactic we developed is based upon: self-efficacy, problem based learning (PBL), pair programming and very small amounts of written information. A central issue was that the guiding was directed against the concepts by asking three questions: What (exactly) are you doing?, why are you doing it? and how does it help you? (Schoenfeld, 1992). I have chosen to base my evaluasion on some crucial concepts in object oriented programming: Object, class, sub-class, modulariation and reuse.
My main findings were: The discussions in the groups and in plenum with an active instructor contribute to building knowledge for the students. The use of the three questions supports the allegation that the students as well as the instructors, at an early state focus on learning the main concepts in OOP. Student driven progression may function in an introduction course for OOP. My recommendation is to try our didactics with some adjustments and a normal class of participants.