COLORS for Programming: A System to Support the Learning of Programming

Stuart Garner
InSITE 2002  •  Volume 2  •  2002
Learning introductory software development is a difficult task and students often perceive programming subjects as requiring significantly more work than others. This paper describes a learning model for programming that has its basis in cognitive load theory. This theory suggests that there are three types of cognitive load that learners experience: intrinsic which is determined by the mental demands of the domain of knowledge; extraneous which is generated by the instructional format used in the teaching and learning process; and germane which can be utilised by learners to engage in conscious processing. The learning model is used as a basis, together with a particular instructional design framework, for the development of “COLORS (Cognitive Load Reduction System) for Programming”. COLORS is described together with a software tool, CORT (Code Restructuring Tool), that has been developed by the author to support various aspects of COLORS.
cognitive load theory; programming; instructional design; code restructuring.
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