A Systematic Review of Think Alouds in Computational Thinking Research

  • Author / Creator
    Pan, Zexuan
  • Computational thinking (CT) has become an essential literacy for the digital age, as it enables individuals to approach complex problems systematically and adapt to a rapidly changing technological landscape. Despite the educational benefits of CT being largely supported in the literature, the cognitive processes associated with CT are not yet well understood, restricting researchers and practitioners from designing more effective instructional strategies and personalized learning experiences. This warrants the investigation of alternative data collection methods that can provide deeper insights into individuals’ cognitive processes during CT-related activities. One such method is think-aloud interviews, which involve participants verbalizing their real-time thoughts while engaging in problem-solving tasks. This systematic review examines 35 empirical studies featuring the use of think-aloud interviews in CT research. Findings show that think-aloud interviews (1) are typically conducted in Computer Science classrooms and with K-12 students; (2) are usually combined with other exploratory CT assessment tools; (3) have the potential to benefit learners with special needs and identify the competency gaps through involving diverse participants; (4) are conducted in the absence of cognitive models and standard procedures; and (5) display insufficient definitional and methodological rigor. Theoretically, this review presents a systematic assessment of the application of think-aloud interviews in CT studies and identifies gaps in existing CT-related think-aloud studies. Practically, this review serves as a reference for studying the cognitive processes during CT problem-solving and provides suggestions for CT researchers who intend to incorporate think-aloud interviews in their studies.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.