Mental Models and Programming

Peter Donaldson is currently investigating conceptual models of programming languages and systems (notional machine models) and which types of activities help novices to develop a more coherent and accurate mental model of how they work. Development of a coherent mental model of program execution is increasingly seen by the CS Education community as an important developmental step in learning to program and therefore a key aspect in educators being able to support all learners to become computationally literate. Peter’s research draws inspiration from prior work on mental models and current research in scientific modelling and coherence formation using multiple external representations.