Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32586
WhatsApp as Part of a Blended Learning Model to Help Programming Novices

Authors: Tlou J. Ramabu


Programming is one of the challenging subjects in the field of computing. In the higher education sphere, some programming novices’ performance, retention rate, and success rate are not improving. Most of the time, the problem is caused by the slow pace of learning, difficulty in grasping the syntax of the programming language and poor logical skills. More importantly, programming forms part of major subjects within the field of computing. As a result, specialized pedagogical methods and innovation are highly recommended. Little research has been done on the potential productivity of the WhatsApp platform as part of a blended learning model. In this article, the authors discuss the WhatsApp group as a part of blended learning model incorporated for a group of programming novices. We discuss possible administrative activities for productive utilisation of the WhatsApp group on the blended learning overview. The aim is to take advantage of the popularity of WhatsApp and the time students spend on it for their educational purpose. We believe that blended learning featuring a WhatsApp group may ease novices’ cognitive load and strengthen their foundational programming knowledge and skills. This is a work in progress as the proposed blended learning model with WhatsApp incorporated is yet to be implemented.

Keywords: Blended learning, higher education, WhatsApp, programming, novices, lecturers.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1090


[1] Kelleher, C. and Pausch, R., 2005. Lowering the barriers to programming: A taxonomy of programming environments and languages for novice programmers. ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR), 37(2), pp.83-137.
[2] Nelson, B., Dunn, R., Griggs, S.A. and Primavera, L., 1993. Effects of learning style intervention on college students retention and achievement. Journal of College Student Development.
[3] Albin-Clark, A., Howard, T. L. J., & Anderson, B. (2011). Real-time computer graphics simulation of blockplay in early childhood. Computers & Education, 57(4), 2496-2504.
[4] Qi, W. J. and Y. Wenjing (2012). Innovative teaching methods of C# Programming course based on the CDIO. Computer Science & Education (ICCSE), 2012 7th International Conference on, IEEE.
[5] Kölling, M. and F. McKay (2016). "Heuristic evaluation for novice programming systems." ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) 16(3): 12.
[6] Castro, F.E.V.G., 2015, July. Investigating Novice Programmers' Plan Composition Strategies. In Proceedings of the eleventh annual International Conference on International Computing Education Research (pp. 249-250). ACM.
[7] One Billion. WhatsApp blog. 1 February 2016. Available online: (accessed on 25 April 2016).
[8] Kamel Boulos, M. N., Giustini, D. M., & Wheeler, S. (2016). Instagram and WhatsApp in health and healthcare: An overview. Future Internet, 8(3), 37.
[9] Astarcioglu, M. A., Sen, T., Kilit, C., Durmus, H. I., Gozubuyuk, G., Kalcik, M., ... & Amasyali, B. (2015). Time-to-reperfusion in STEMI undergoing interhospital transfer using smartphone and WhatsApp messenger. The American journal of emergency medicine, 33(10), 1382-1384.
[10] Bartlette, D. (2009). Blended Learning in Higher Education. Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education, 35(2).
[11] Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The internet and higher education, 7(2), 95-105.
[12] Wang, M., Shen, R., Novak, D., & Pan, X. (2009). The impact of mobile learning on students' learning behaviours and performance: Report from a large blended classroom. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40(4), 673-695.
[13] Cole, H. C. (2017). Social Media on Smartphone Technology: How has the Proliferation of Smartphones Affected our Society?.
[14] Kukulska-Hulme, A., & Shield, L. (2008). An overview of mobile assisted language learning: From content delivery to supported collaboration and interaction. ReCALL, 20(03), 271-289.
[15] Grosseck, G. (2008). To use or not to use web 2.0 in higher education? Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 478–482.
[16] Grosseck G. & Holotescu C. (2009) Can we use Twitter for educational activities? Proceedings of the 4th International Scientific Conference: eLearning and Software for Education, Bucharest, Romania. Available at: accessed 12 January 2010).
[17] Tess, P. A. (2013). The role of social media in higher education classes (real and virtual) – A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, A60–A68
[18] Junco, R., Heiberger, G., & Loken, E. (2011). The effect of Twitter on college student engagement and grades. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(2), 119–132
[19] Yang, C., & Chang, Y.-S. (2011). Assessing the effects of interactive blogging on student attitudes towards peer interaction, learning motivation, and academic achievements. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28, 126–135.
[20] Mao, J. (2014). Social media for learning: A mixed methods study on high school students’ technology affordances and perspectives. Computers in Human Behavior, 33, 213-223.
[21] Doering, A., Cynthia, L., George, V., & Nichols-Besel, K. (2008). Preservice teachers’ perceptions of instant messaging in two educational contexts. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 25(1), 5-12.
[22] Friesen, N., & Lowe, S. (2011). The questionable promise of social media for education: Connective learning and the commercial imperative. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28, 183–194. 2729.2011.00426.x.
[23] Bouhnik, D., & Deshen, M. (2014). WhatsApp goes to school: Mobile instant messaging between teachers and students. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 13(1), 217-231.
[24] Jadhav, D., Bhutkar, G., & Mehta, V. (2013). Usability evaluation of messenger applications for Android phones using cognitive walkthrough.
[25] Gitonga G, Onyango G, Rugar T Student's experiences of using blogs to promote experiential learning in a blended classroom: A case of a Kenyan Public University
[26] Jamil, S., Zehra, F., Naqvi, R., & Bhamani, S. (2013, December). Impact of facebook intensity on academic grades of private university students. In Information & Communication Technologies (ICICT), 2013 5th International Conference on (pp. 1-10). IEEE.
[27] Lameras, P., Paraskakis, I., & Levy, P. (2009). Using social software for teaching and learning in higher education. In Handbook of research on social software and developing community ontologies (pp. 269-284). IGI Global.
[28] Robinson, L., Behi, O., Corcoran, A., Cowley, V., Cullinane, J., Martin, I., & Tomkinson, D. (2015). Evaluation of Whatsapp for promoting social presence in a first year undergraduate radiography problem-based learning group. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 46(3), 280-286.
[29] Ramluckan, T. (2016, May). Factors affecting the use of social media as a crisis communication tool in South Africa. In IST-Africa Week Conference, 2016 (pp. 1-11). IEEE.
[30] Susilo, A. (2014). Exploring Facebook and Whatsapp as supporting social network applications for English learning in higher education.
[31] Maleko, M., Nandi, D., Hamilton, M., D'Souza, D., & Harland, J. (2013, March). Facebook versus blackboard for supporting the learning of programming in a fully online course: The changing face of computing education. In Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering (LaTiCE), 2013 (pp. 83-89). IEEE.
[32] Wang, Q., Woo, H. L., Quek, C. L., Yang, Y., & Liu, M. (2012). Using the Facebook group as a learning management system: An exploratory study. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(3), 428-438.
[33] Sclater, N. (2008). Web 2.0, personal learning environments, and the future of learning management systems. Research bulletin, 13(13), 1-13.
[34] Borboa, D., Joseph, M., Spake, D., & Yazdanparast, A. (2017). Perceptions and Use of Learning Management System Tools and Other Technologies in Higher Education: A Preliminary Analysis. Journal of Learning in Higher Education, 10(2), 17-23.
[35] Mahapatra, J., Srivastava, S., Yadav, K., Shrivastava, K., & Deshmukh, O. (2016, April). LMS weds WhatsApp: bridging digital divide using MIMs. In Proceedings of the 13th Web for All Conference (p. 42). ACM.
[36] Bayman, P., & Mayer, R. E. (1983). A diagnosis of beginning programmers' misconceptions of BASIC programming statements. Communications of the ACM, 26(9), 677-679.
[37] Kahney, H. (1983, December). What do novice programmers know about recursion. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 235-239). ACM.
[38] Sleeman, D., Putnam, R. T., Baxter, J., & Kuspa, L. (1986). Pascal and high school students: A study of errors. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 2(1), 5-23.
[39] Sanders, I., Galpin, V., & Götschi, T. (2006, June). Mental models of recursion revisited. In ACM SIGCSE Bulletin (Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 138-142). ACM.
[40] Schoeman, M., Gelderblom, H., & Muller, H. (2013). Investigating the effect of program visualization on introductory programming in a distance learning environment. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 17(1-2), 139-151.
[41] Brown, N. C., & Altadmri, A. (2017). Novice Java programming mistakes: large-scale data vs. educator beliefs. ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), 17(2), 7.
[42] Pillay, N., & Jugoo, V. R. (2006). An analysis of the errors made by novice programmers in a first course in procedural programming in Java. Preface of the Editors, 84.
[43] Stefik, A., & Siebert, S. (2013). An empirical investigation into programming language syntax. ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), 13(4), 19.
[44] Cadenhead, R. (2015). Java in 21 Days, Sams Teach Yourself (Covering Java 8). Sams Publishing.