Using Variation Theory as a Guiding Principle in an OOP Assisted Syntax Correction Learning System

Ming-Che Lee, Jia-Wei Chang, Tzone I Wang, Zi Feng Huang


Object-oriented programming skill is important for the software professionals. It has become a mandatory course in information science and computer engineering departments of universities. However, it is hard for novice learners to understand the syntax and semantics of the language while learning object-oriented programming, and that makes them feel frustrated. The purpose of this study is to build an object-oriented programming assistant system that gives syntax error feedback based the variation theory. We established the syntax correction module on the basis of the Virtual Teaching Assistant (VTA). While compiling codes, the system will display syntax errors, if any, with feedbacks that are designed according to the variation theory in different levels (the generation, contrast, separation, and fusion levels) to help them correcting the errors. The experiment design of this study splits the participants, who are university freshmen, into two groups by the S-type method based on the result of a mid-term test. The learning performances and questionnaires were used for surveying, followed by in-depth inter-views, to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed assistant system. The findings indicate that the learners in the experimental group achieved better learning outcomes than their counterparts in the control group. This can also prove that the strategy of using the variation theory in implementing feed-back for object-oriented programming is effective.


Variation Theory; Object-Oriented Programming; Virtual Teaching Assistant

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Copyright (c) 2020 Ming-Che Lee, Jia-Wei Chang, Tzone I Wang, Zi Feng Huang

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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