Pairing-Based Approach to Support Understanding of Object-Oriented Concepts and Programming

Shahida Sulaiman


Blended learning comprises various learning modes with the support of digital resources. It has been a critical element in 21st-century teaching and learning environment at multiple levels of education, mainly tertiary level. In the software engineering field, pair programming is one of the techniques in Xtreme Programming principles in Agile software development methodology. Although pair programming is well-known among practitioners, studies have shown that pair programming can support computer science or software engineering students at higher learning institutions to understand the concepts in programming. Indeed, pair programming could support active learning among students. Inspired by pair programming, this study proposes that pairing-based pedagogy or “pairgogy†in blended learning could also increase students’ confidence and interest in completing theoretical in-class exercises not limited to programming tasks with the support of an e-learning system. The proposed approach was applied to teaching object-oriented concepts using Java programs. The findings reflect that both pair programming and “pairgogy†complement each other as a pairing-based approach in blended learning to support understanding of object-oriented concepts and programming. Students’ responses towards the approach applied in a semester were positive. The study also implies that most students preferred to be a driver, the person doing the program rather than a navigator who guides drivers on what to program. In this approach, students were also required to complete the in-class theoretical questions in pairs by tracing given programs and answered via the e-learning. Thus, the pairing-based approach has proven to be beneficial to support students in learning programming.


blended learning; pair programming; pairing-based pedagogy; object-oriented concepts; Java program.

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