Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2002

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science - (M.S.)


Computer and Information Science

First Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Second Advisor

James A. McHugh

Third Advisor

Qianhong Liu


There is a great demand for the development of novice learning tools to supplement classroom instruction in the areas of problem solving and program development. Research in the area of pedagogy, the psychology of programming, human-computer interaction, and cognition have provided valuable input to the development of new methodologies, paradigms, programming languages, and novice learning tools to answer this demand.

Based on the cognitive needs of novices, it is possible to postulate a set of characteristics that should comprise the components an effective novice-learning tool. This thesis will discover these characteristics and provide recommendations for the development of new learning tools. This will be accomplished with a review of the challenges that novices face, an in-depth discussion on modem learning tools and the challenges that they address, and the identification and discussion of the vital characteristics that constitute an effective learning tool based on these tools and personal ideas.