The curious case of loops

Briana B. Morrison, Lauren E. Margulieux, Adrienne Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Context: Subgoal labeled worked examples have been extensively researched, but the research has been reported piecemeal. This paper aggregates data from three studies, including data previously unreported, to holistically examine the effect of subgoal labeled worked examples across three student populations and across different instructional designs. Objective: By aggregating the data, we provide more statistical power for somewhat surprising yet replicable results. We discuss which results generalize across populations, focusing on a stable effect size for subgoal labels in programming instruction. Method: We use descriptive and inferential statistics to examine the data collected from different student populations and different classroom instructional designs. We concentrate on the effect size across samples of the intervention for generalization. Findings: Students using two variations of subgoal labeled instructional materials perform better than the others: the group that was given the subgoal labels with farther transfer between worked examples and practice problems and the group that constructed their own subgoal labels with nearer transfer between worked examples and practice problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-154
Number of pages28
JournalComputer Science Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • CS1
  • Worked example
  • experiment
  • subgoal label

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education


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