Higher Education—Educating for Higher Order Skills


Preparing college students for a knowledge-based economy is a challenge that requires curriculum design that puts more emphasis on learning skills than on content to be taught. Cognitive skills should be practiced in a context of some content, but the choice of content, the choice of the learning environment, and the choice of the assessment procedures can enhance the development of such skills. In this paper we present these choices for a course that was specially designed to provide a motivating and engaging context that requires the use of higher order cognitive skills. The title of the course is “Design of computer-based games and interactive stories” and it is provided to students with no prior exposure to computer programming. At the end of the course students are required to submit an interactive artifact (a game or a story) implemented in Scratch, which is a visual programming environment. In this qualitative study we present the results from a thematic analysis of students’ post-course reflection reports.

Share and Cite:

Or-Bach, R. (2013). Higher Education—Educating for Higher Order Skills. Creative Education, 4, 17-21. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.47A2004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Arum, R., Roksa, J., & Cho, E. (2011). Improving undergraduate learning: Findings and policy recommendations from the SSRC-CLA Longitudinal Project. http://www.ssrc.org/workspace/images/
[2] Ashby, F. G., Isen, A. M., & Turken, U. (1999). A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition. Psychological Review, 106, 529-550. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.106.3.529
[3] Black, P., McCormick, R., James, M., & Pedder, D. (2006). Learning how to learn and Assessment for Learning: A theoretical inquiry. Research Papers in Education, 21, 119-132. doi:10.1080/02671520600615612
[4] Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101. doi:10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
[5] Candy, P. C. (2000). Knowledge navigators and lifelong learners: Producing graduates for the information society. Higher Education Research & Development, 19, 261-277. doi:10.1080/758484346
[6] Clear, T. et al. (2008). The Teaching of Novice Computer Programmers: Bringing the scholarly-research approach to Australia. Proceedings of the Tenth Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE 2008), Wollongong, Australia.
[7] diSessa, A. (2000). Changing minds: Computers, learning, and literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
[8] Dunlap, J. C., & Grabinger, S. (2009). Preparing students for lifelong learning: A review of instructional features and teaching methodologies. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 16, 6-25. doi:10.1111/j.1937-8327.2003.tb00276.x
[9] Fallows, S., & Steven, C. (2000). Building employability skills into the higher education curriculum: A university-wide initiative. Education and Training, 42, 75-83. doi:10.1108/00400910010331620
[10] Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
[11] Guzdial, M. (2004). Programming environments for novices. In S. Fincher, & M. Petre (Eds.), Computer science education research (pp. 127-154). Lisse, The Netherlands: Taylor & Francis.
[12] Johnson, S. (2005). Everything bad is good for you: How today’s popular culture is actually making us smarter. London: Allen Lane.
[13] Hayes, E. R., & Games, I. E. (2008). Making computer games and design thinking: A review of current software and strategies. Games and Culture, 3, 309-332. doi:10.1177/1555412008317312
[14] Isen, A. M. (2000). Positive affect and decision making. In M. Lewis, & J. Haviland (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (pp. 417-435) (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
[15] Kafai, Y., & Resnick, M. (1996). Constructionism in practice: Designing, thinking, and learning in a digital world. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
[16] Kaminski, K. et al. (2009). Workforce readiness: A study of university students’ fluency with information technology. Computers & Education, 53, 228-233. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.01.017
[17] Kay, A. (1991). Computers, networks and education. Scientific American, 138-148. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0991-138
[18] Keeling, R. P., & Hersh, R. H. (2011). We’re losing our minds: Re thinking American higher education. Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1057/9781137001764
[19] Kelleher, C., & Pausch, R. (2005). Lowering the barriers to programming: A taxonomy of programming environments and languages for novice programmers. ACM Computing Surveys, 37, 88-137.
[20] Malan, D. (2007). Scratch for budding computer scientists. In Proceedings of the 38th SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (pp. 223-227). Covington. doi:10.1145/1227310.1227388
[21] Maloney, J., Resnick, M., Rusk, N., Silverman, B., & Eastmond, E. (2010). The Scratch programming language and environment. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 10, 1-15. doi:10.1145/1868358.1868363
[22] Oblinger, D. (2004). The next generation of educational engagement. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 8, 1-18.
[23] Or-Bach, R. (2009). A programming course for behavioral sciences students. Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2009), Rome, 20-22 November 2009.
[24] Papastergiou, M. (2009). Digital Game-Based Learning in high school Computer Science education: Impact on educational effectiveness and student motivation. Computers & Education, 52, 1-12. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.06.004
[25] Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms. New York: Basic Books.
[26] Picard, R. W., Papert, S., Bender, W., Blumberg, B., Breazeal, C., Cavallo, D., Machover, T., Resnick, M., Roy, D., & Strohecker, C. (2004). Affective learning—A manifesto. BT Technology Journal, 22, 253-269. doi:10.1023/B:BTTJ.0000047603.37042.33
[27] Resnick, M. (2007). Learning from scratch. Microsoft Faculty Connection.
[28] Resnick, M., Maloney, J., Monroy-Hernandez, A., Rusk, N., Eastmond, E., Brennan,K., Millner, A., Rosenbaum, E., Silver, J., Silverman, B., & Kafai, Y. (2009). Scratch: Programming for all. Communications of the ACM, 52, 60-67. doi:10.1145/1592761.1592779
[29] Robertson, J., & Howells, C. (2008). Computer game design: Opportunities for successful learning. Computers and Education, 50, 559-578. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2007.09.020
[30] Smeets, E. (2005). Does ICT contribute to powerful learning environments in primary education. Computers and Education, 44, 343-355. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2004.04.003
[31] Tüzun, H., Yilmaz-Sollu, M., Karakus, T., YInal, Y., & Kizilkaya, G. (2008). The effects of computer games on primary school student’s achievement and motivation in geography learning. Computers & Education, 52, 68-78. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.06.008
[32] Vos, N., van der Meijden, H., & Denessen, E. (2011). Effects of constructing versus playing an educational game on student motivation and deep learning strategy use. Computers & Education, 56, 127-137. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.08.013

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.