Digital Support for Abductive Learning in Introductory Computing Courses

Radenski, A. Digital Support for Abductive Learning in Introductory Computing Courses. Proceedings of the 38th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 07, Covington, Kentucky, USA, March 7-11, 2007, pp. 14-18.

Students who grew up browsing the Web are skilled in what is usually referred to as abduction, a reasoning process that starts with a set of specific observations and then generates the best possible explanation of those observations. In order to exploit the abduction skills of contemporary students, we have developed digital CS1/2 study packs that promote and support active learning through abduction, i.e., abductive learning. The study packs integrate a variety of digital resources: online self-guided labs, e-texts, tutorial links, sample programs, quizzes, and slides. These online packs stimulate students to learn abductively by browsing, searching, and performing self-guided lab experiments. In two years of study pack use, the failure rate in the CS1/2 courses at Chapman University has been reduced from 14% to 5%. The study packs have been published online at and adopted in various institutions.

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Copyright ACM, 2007. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version is published in SIGCSE'07, March 711, 2007, Covington, Kentucky, USA, ISS# 1-59593-055-8/06/0006,


Last updated: September 2007.