A Program Design Tool to Help Novices Learn Programming

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Centre for Educational Development, Nanyang Technological University


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




This article was originally published as: Garner, S. K. (2007). A program design tool to help novices learn programming. Proceedings of Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education. (pp. 321-324). Singapore. Centre for Educational Development, Nanyang Technological University. Original article available here


The learning of software development is difficult for many students. Often students start writing programming code as soon as they receive a problem statement without paying sufficient attention to program design. One of the most common ways to design the logic of a program is to use pseudocode, and yet many students do not like to do this. Reasons for this include: it is another language to learn; they do not think that they are actually programming; they cannot test their designs as the designs are not executable; there is not a rigid syntax and so students are unsure whether their pseudocode meets an instructor's expectations. This paper concerns the development of a simple tool that helps students create pseudocode. The tool has been used and evaluated in an introductory programming unit of study. The results suggest that the tool was easy for students to learn and that it helped support their learning.

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