Computer science undergraduates, for a number of reasons, find it difficult to learn formal reasoning methods. In an experiment designed to address certain of these difficulties a complete first year undergraduate computer science intake was supplied with a selection of computer-based tools providing a mixture of graphical and textual on-screen help. This paper reports on the experiment and the evaluation studies which were undertaken to assess the effect of the tools upon the students' progress in learning formal reasoning methods. The results indicated that the tools had a positive effect upon the learning process, both in qualitative and quantitative terms. In addition, data from the experiment pointed to other factors which may exercise an influence on the degree of success which students have in learning formal methods. Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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