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An Information Technology Instrument to Enhance the Development of Abstract Thinking for Object-Oriented Programming

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dc.contributor.author Kompi, Moabi Saul
dc.date.accessioned 2018-04-19T09:03:55Z
dc.date.available 2018-04-19T09:03:55Z
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11462/1326
dc.description Published Thesis en_US
dc.description.abstract Object-oriented Programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm that offers a more natural and intuitive way to describe, for example, instances of variables by relating them to real world objects with attributes through the creation of classes and their associated instances, called objects. The creation of classes, instantiation of objects, inheritance of other classes and composition are significant abstract topics in OOP that distinguish it drastically from its counterpart, i.e. structured programming. OOP is very abstract in nature and requires abstract cognitive skills, similar to the skills needed to perform well in mathematics, for the proper comprehension of the theoretical constituents associated with OOP as well as the practical application thereof. Several programming languages that implement the OOP paradigm, for example Java, facilitate class creation via abstract data types (ADT), which further points to the abstract nature of this paradigm. The main objectives of this research were to:  determine the theoretical concepts related to abstract thinking ability in the human brain and how it is stimulated;  determine what evaluation instruments related to assessing abstract thinking ability exist currently and of what an IT software-tool aiming to develop abstract thinking ability should comprise;  determine the development of a software tool that will stimulate and assist the development of abstract thinking abilities within the users thereof;  provide evidence regarding the effects of such an intervention on the abstract thinking abilities of the users thereof and on that of the academic performance of the users thereof in OOP. To develop such an intervention, the researcher investigated available literature, employed a registered psychologist and incorporated available games, exercises, and questions to bring out the full potential of the working intervention. An experimental case-study research design was used for this project. The GSAT assessment tool formed part of the evaluation tools with the aim to evaluate both the non-verbal (abstract reasoning) as well as the verbal skills of a control and an experimental group. The mixed method methodology, consisting of both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, was used to conduct this research study. Furthermore, the resulting intervention that was developed and deployed as part of this study includes the functionality to data collection, which was analysed, deliberated upon and presented. The objective was to prove the hypothesis that: A custom software tool, designed, developed, introduced and deployed, specifically to stimulate certain cognitive processes in the human brain, has the ability to improve students’ abstract thinking ability and a direct effect on students’ performance in OOP when used for a determined period. The data of the pre and post-psychometric assessments indicated measurable improvement in the abstract thinking abilities of the experimental group when compared to that of the control group. Subsequently, the institutional assessment results regarding OOP supported this data and indicated improvement in the academic performance of the members of the experimental group in OOP as a subject, when compared to that of the members of the control group. The study concluded with the presentation of a set of guidelines for developers who aim to develop interactive Information Technology tools to stimulate abstract thinking abilities within the users thereof. en_US
dc.format.extent 6 037 661 bytes, 1 file
dc.format.mimetype Application/PDF
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Bloemfontein: Central University of Technology, Free State en_US
dc.title An Information Technology Instrument to Enhance the Development of Abstract Thinking for Object-Oriented Programming en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.rights.holder Central University of Technology, Free State

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