Quick Read: Using pair programming to support learners

14 November 2019

Collaborative working is effective in many curriculum areas, but a structured pair programming approach can support learners to develop programs and problem solve more successfully. Application of this approach is more than simply asking two learners to work together and involves the learners taking on two different roles: driver and navigator.

  • Each learner will play both roles, swapping at regular intervals
  • The driver controls the keyboard and mouse and will write the code
  • The navigator focuses on the wider aims of the task, spots errors, problem-solves, and reads out instructions to the driver

The benefits of this approach to teaching programming include separating the skill of using the computer (for example, mouse skills and typing) from the skills involved in solving the problem or searching for bugs. However, the pairs must be chosen carefully to ensure they are able to work together effectively.

Read more in November's Pedagogy Quick Read and check out our previous quick reads on Worked Examples and Cognitive Load Theory.