Evidencing the value of inquiry based, constructionist learning for student coders

Yee-King, Matthew; Grierson, Mick and d'Inverno, Mark. 2017. Evidencing the value of inquiry based, constructionist learning for student coders. International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy, 7(3), pp. 109-129. ISSN 2192-4880 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

For the last decade, there has been growing interest in the STEAM approach (essentially combining methods and practices in arts, humanities and social sciences into STEM teaching and research) with its potential to deliver better research and education, and to enable us to produce students who can work more effectively in the current and developing marketplace. However, despite this interest, there seems to be little quantitative evidence of the true power of STEAM learning, especially describing how it compares and performs with respect to more established approaches. To address this, we present a comparative, quantitative study of two distinct approaches to teaching programming, one based on STEAM (with an open ended inquirydriven, inductive approach), the other based on a more traditional, non-STEAM approach (where constrained problems are set and solved deductively). Our key results evidence how students exhibit different styles of programming in different types of lessons and, crucially, that students who tend to exhibit more of the style of programming observed in our STEAM lessons also tend to achieve higher grades. We present our claims through a range of visualisations and statistical validations which clearly show the significance of the results, despite the small scale of the study. We believe that this work provides clear evidence for the advantages of STEAM over non-STEAM, and provides a strong theoretical and technological framework for future, larger studies.

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STEAM; xAPI; coding; education; pedagogy

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11 July 2017Accepted
17 August 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2017 13:38

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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