Helping end-user programmers help themselves : the idea garden approach Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0v838369w

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  • End-user programmers face many barriers in programming. Research has seen many programming environments that attempted to lower or remove the barriers but despite these efforts, empirical studies continue to report barriers users face. To investigate this issue, we took a theory-informed approach. Using theories from design, creativity, and problem solving as a lens, we examined end-user programmers' programming obstacles to derive design implications. Synthesizing the implications, we proposed an Idea Garden approach for creating problem-solving support in existing end-user programming environments aimed at helping users help themselves. This approach focuses on delivering problem-solving strategies and programming knowledge in the context of users' work to help them overcome barriers. We developed a proof-of-concept prototype of an Idea Garden for the CoScripter environment. Results from empirical studies of the prototype were encouraging: not only was the Idea Garden able to help users overcome barriers, learn relevant programming and strategies, but such learning persisted with users so that they were able to apply it toward problem-solving new tasks without further help from the Idea Garden. We conclude by providing recommendations to researchers who are interested in developing an Idea Garden for their end-user programming environments.
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