F5-C1-2 - Experiential Factors Supporting Pupils’ Perceived Competence In Coding - An Evaluative Qualitative Content Analysis

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
David Haselberger1 , Renate Motschnig1, Oswald Comber1, Hubert Mayer1, Matthias Hörbe1
1 Faculty of Computer Science, University of Vienna, Austria

This Full Paper in the research to practice category explores pupils’ motivation to learn programming by game development in the game development environment (GDE) UnityTM. After getting to know block-based programming through controlling robots, 66 students with minimal computer literacy between 14 and 16 years of age got in touch with Unity in six Informatics courses with group sizes between 8 and 14 students each for approximately 40 course hours. In particular, we are interested in experiential factors that underlie students’ perceived competence in coding in high school computer science. We conducted an evaluative qualitative content analysis of 21 semi-structured interviews among students in six high school Informatics courses. Self- determination theory (SDT) identifies competence, autonomy and relatedness as basic needs that underpin motivation. We evaluated in how far students expressed these needs in their reciprocal interviews. Further, we explored student statements to find out about factors influencing their perceived competence. We were specifically interested in students’ future expectancy to get in contact with coding - which we attributed to the need for autonomy. According to our findings, most students were rather motivated to code in Unity. Yet, many did not express a future interest in (game) development. The majority of students expressed perceived competence in the programming tasks. A few students also explicitly mentioned relatedness as important learning factor. In line with SDT, relatedness appears to be important for students’ ability to deal with frustration along the journey of learning to code. It is open to consideration in how far students’ social environment – including student peers awareness of technology use in their current personal surroundings and possible future opportunities for getting in contact with coding in their lives – is deeply relevant to students’ perceived competence in programming apart from coding tools, such as Scratch or Unity, and incentives, such as programming games.