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Approaches for learning Prolog programming

Author(s): Shanshan Yang | Mike Joy

Journal: ITALICS
ISSN 1473-7507

Volume: 6;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 88;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: learning and teaching programming | approaches | logic programming | Prolog

Understanding Prolog programming is a challenge for many beginners, and many instructors and researchers have proposed and adopted varied teaching approaches to help learners to understand Prolog easily. However, it is not known whether any of the teaching approaches currently in use is appropriate from a learner's perspective. This paper reports the results of an investigation into which approaches are suitable for Prolog novices and why they are appropriate.We first categorise the teaching approaches which are currently in use in mainstream Prolog introductory textbooks, and highlight how they have been used over the past 25 years. We then discuss the appropriateness of each approach, by addressing their advantages and disadvantages based on interviews with learners. Using this information, a larger picture of the suitability of these teaching approaches is drawn, and finally we suggest what factors may influence it and discuss possible improvements. The findings of this study suggest that an approach based on emphasising the declarative features of the language is the most appropriate, as a component of a blended learning strategy.
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