Yeom, S and Herbert, N and Ryu, R, Project-based collaborative learning enhances students' programming performance, Association for Computing Machinery, 8-13 July 2022, Dublin, Ireland, pp. 248-254. ISSN 1942-647X (2022) [Refereed Conference Paper]
The objective of this study was to investigate if the Project-Based Collaborative Learning (PBCL) approach could positively impact on a student's performance within an introductory programming subject. PBCL is a student-centred approach that allows students to collaboratively engage in an authentic complex project that facilitates students developing knowledge and skills while systematically completing learning tasks that combine to achieve the project. In this study, PBCL was implemented within a postgraduate web-based programming subject for students who mostly did not have a prior history with programming. This study used inferential descriptive statistical analysis to compare the students' performance with a prior offering where students completed all tasks as individuals. The size of the study was 799 students over three years (n=338 in 2019, 238 in 2020 and 223 in 2021). The results indicate a statistically significant improvement, with failure rates declining by 7% and average overall performance improving by 5.8%. As there were a substantial number of female students an analysis based on gender was also possible (38% female students). This approach indicated a statistically significant improvement for female students, with failure rates declining by 10% and average overall performance improving by 8.3%. The results of this study provide evidence of the effectiveness of the PBCL approach to engage and improve a student's, especially female students' learning within an introductory programming subject.