Vivian, R., Falkner, K., & Szabo, C. (2014). Can everybody learn to code?: Computer science community perceptions about learning the fundamentals of programming. In Proceedings of the 14th Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (pp. 41-50). New York: ACM.


Type: Empirical

Purpose: The purpose of the article "was to pilot a survey to determine if the topic attracted a response from those in the CS community and to identify some key viewpoints to determine if the topic warrants further exploration" (p.45).

Findings: The authors divided the reasons as to why anyone can learn to code into stable and unstable factors based on attribution theory. Stable factors included: interest, patience, prior knowledge, ability, attitude, and mathematical intelligence to name a few. Unstable factors include: motivation, effort, fear, persistence and problem solving. Twenty-seven different traits were identified by participants. The top five traits were logical thinking, methodical, persistent, abstract thinking, and creative. Participants identified 15 challenges/barriers in learning to code. The top five challenges were motivation/interest, lacking patience, struggle with 'language', lacking confidence, and difficulty in thinking. The authors suggest that people in CS fields believe there is more to learning to program than ability or intelligence.

Recommendations: 1. Motivation was identified as a factor in learning to code as well as a barrier. This information may be important for K-12 educators and curriculum developers to consider.


Sample Size: 33

Participant Type: 11 University Educators; 9 IT Professionals; 4 Researchers (IT/CS specialization); 2 H.S. teachers; 2 College Students; 1 Manager; 1 PhD student; 1 Researcher (not related to IT/CS)

Notes: 9 countries were represented in this survey with the majority of responses from Australia. Mean age of participants was 34.2 years.