Motivating programming students by Problem Based Learning and LEGO robots

Marianne Lykke, Mayela Coto Chotto, Sonia Mora, Niels Vandel Svendsen, Christian Jantzen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Retention of first year students in Computer Science is a concern for universities internationally. Especially programming courses are regarded as difficult, and often have the highest failure and dropout rates. The Informatics School at Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica is not an exception. For this reason the school is focusing on different teaching methods to help their students master these skills.
This paper introduces an experimental, controlled comparison study of three learning designs, involving a problem based learning (PBL) approach in connection with the use of LEGO Mindstorms to improve students programming skills and motivation for learning in an introductory programming course. The paper reports the results related with one of the components of the study - the experiential qualities of the three learning designs. The data were collected through a questionnaire survey with 229 students from three groups exposed to different learning designs and through six qualitative walk-alongs collecting data from these groups by informal interviews and observations. Findings from the three studies were discussed in three focus group interviews with 10 students from the three experimental groups.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 2014 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON)
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4799-3191-0
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventIEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 3 Apr 20145 Apr 2014
Conference number: 2014


ConferenceIEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON)

Bibliographical note

Proceedings USB handed out at the conference: 978-1-4799-3190-3
IEEE Xplore®: 978-1-4799-3191-0


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