Comparison of two approaches when teaching object-orientated programming to novices

Desmond Adair, Martin Jaeger, Jonathan Stegen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


It has been stated several times in the literature that novice students must grasp object-orientated concepts immediately as the fundamental knowledge for programming using Java. Also, that introducing students to programming using the simpler procedural concepts early only compounds the difficulty of teaching object-orientated programming, as the need to always use some aspect of object-based code in Java cannot be avoided. Attempting to disguise this eventually causes frustration and confusion, even for good students. This paper presents the results of a comparison that evaluates, using a pre-test-post-test control group design, two approaches to teaching Java, where one approach uses objects first and the other uses a procedural followed by an objects approach. The results of the empirical study indicate that the students, who were first year engineers, using the objects first approach do indeed gain a better understanding of programming. This finding is supported by information gathered from a debriefing questionnaire, where the objects first approach was rated as easier for acquiring Java programming knowledge and skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1036
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning effectiveness
  • Object-orientated programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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