Reserarch results: THE STATE OF THE ART

Author: 
Peter Palvolgyi
Category: 

This is our research summary on training courses available on coding and mobile devices.

We have also cunducted a survey among end-users and e-facilitators about their training and learning needs.

We conducted this research preceding the development of training curriculum for both e-facilitators and young learners. The aim of the survey was to define the “state of the art” in teaching coding and mobile devices by mapping available training offers at country level and at pan-European level.

We have validated our results by a group of European and Belgian experts:

  • Professor Stéphane Faulkner, PhD – Expert from the University of Namur
  • Caroline Herssens, PhD – CogniTIC, Project Manager
  • Sarah Bouraga – CogniTIC, Business Analyst
  • Laure Lemaire – Director Interface 3, Sociologist
  • Julie Moors – Interface 3, Developer,  Trainer and Project Manager.
  • David Collignon – IT specialist, Trainer 

 

USE OF MOBILE DEVICES

We have gone over the proposal of the course structure for the use of mobile devices, and therefrom, we would make the following suggestion. 

We recommend putting the use of applications (collaborative applications such as Trello or Redmine for instance; or other) in perspective regarding their use on PC and on mobile.  More specifically, it should be emphasized that mobile devices come in addition, in complement to PC.  For instance, if we consider a Word document, one will use her mobile device to read it, but will use her PC to create and edit it. 

In conclusion, during the course, the trainer should stress the fact that the use of mobile devices does not replace the use of PC, but instead comes in complement to it. 

 

CODING

We have analyzed the proposal of the course structure for coding, and therefrom, we have drawn the following conclusions. 

The objective of the course is to introduce programming to young people and to motivate them to learn, take on courses on, programming.  The objective is not to teach coding in details and have the participants mastering a language by the end of the course.

The structure was proposed based on existing and known courses.  The parts that were considered too technical were removed in order to fit the objective of the course, and in order to be consistent with the lack of prerequisites.  The common theme throughout all the sessions will be a micro game. 

The course will focus on JavaScript, since it does not require any specific software or hardware, it is popular, and easy to learn.  Other programming languages will also be introduced in order to give trainees a wide range of existing technologies.  More specifically, HTML and CSS can also be found on the course structure, in addition to JavaScript.  If the trainee shows interest in one or more of these programming languages, the trainer will provide the participant with additional resources, such as websites or telecentres for instance. 

E-learning sessions will be organized, but the trainer will always be present.  The latter can also adapt the complexity and/or the pace of the course depending on the level of the participants. 

The participants are expected to present their project at the end of the program.  These presentations will have to satisfy to a clear structure, given beforehand to the trainees. 

Based on our discussion, two suggestions can be made.  First, it could be interesting to provide some insight into the potential jobs and career plans, for each language and each technology.  The trainer could mention them in the introduction, and provide more details in “Further information”.  Indeed jobs in IT are not limited to programmers; other possible jobs include business analysts or functional analysts for instance.  And these may not be obvious to someone who discovers coding. 

Another suggestion would be to introduce the notion of testing.  The trainer could state the importance of testing, and implement it for the projects.  The testing could be done by peer-review.  This system brings another benefit, namely it forces the participant to understand the logic of somebody else; which can consist in an interesting exercise. 

In conclusion, the objective of the proposed course is clear: entice young people to learn programming.  Two recommendations were made during the meeting.  First, the trainer could propose a list of potential jobs for each technology.  Second, she could introduce the notion, and stress the importance of, testing.