Philip Guo (Phil Guo, Philip J. Guo, Philip Jia Guo, pgbovine)

The Impact of Culture on Learner Behavior in Visual Debuggers

research paper summary
The Impact of Culture on Learner Behavior in Visual Debuggers. Kyle Thayer, Philip J. Guo, Katharina Reinecke. IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), 2018.
People around the world are learning to code using online resources. However, research has found that these learners might not equally benefit from such resources, in particular because culture may affect how people learn from and use online resources. We therefore expect cultural differences in how people use and benefit from visual debuggers. We investigated the use of one popular online debugger which allows users to execute Python code and navigate bidirectionally through the execution using forward-steps and back-steps. We examined behavioral logs of 78,369 users from 69 countries and conducted an experiment with 522 participants from 82 countries. We found that people from countries that tend to prefer self-directed learning (such as those from countries with a low Power Distance, which tend to be less hierarchical than others) used about twice as many back-steps. We also found that for individuals whose values aligned with instructor-directed learning (those who scored high on a "Conservation" scale), back-steps were associated with less debugging success.
  author={Thayer, Kyle and Guo, Philip J. and Reinecke, Katharina},
  title={The Impact of Culture on Learner Behavior in Visual Debuggers},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC)},
  series = {VL/HCC '18},

(summary written by Kyle Thayer)

When I moved to Peru a decade ago, I began to notice how much of the computer programming world was centered in the US (and within the US, Silicon Valley). I began to wonder who around the world had the most opportunities to learn programming, and how people around the world might program differently.

After starting graduate school I started to learn about how researchers have found that culture influences how people use computers in general. One of those differences is that some people prefer more step-by-step instructions, whereas others don't. So I and my co-authors wondered if we could also see differences in how people use a programming tool: Python Tutor. [...]

read the rest of this summary on Kyle's webpage

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