Notes on “Cognitive process during program debugging”

June 23, 2009

Cognitive process during program debugging: Xu, S. and Rajlich, V.

This paper relates the learning of debugging skill to Bloom’s Taxonomy in the cognitive domain. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a concept from educational psychology that maps out the goals of education. The cognitive domain is one of three areas, and is subdivided into a hierarchy of six levels of learning: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation.

To relate to Bloom’s taxonomy, they “conducted” a “case study”. By this I mean they just wrote down the ways in which Bloom’s hierarchy maps to the activities detailed in an existing “case study”, which in fact was a detailed journal of a debugging episode.

They propose that experts are better than novices because experts spend less time on knowledge and comprehension, and more time on application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

This conclusion is supported by e.g. Gugerty and Olson 1986, which came to the same conclusion via experiment.

Lo and behold: A generic human-designed system carefully designed to model knowledge models knowledge.

%d bloggers like this: