Effect of SRA-programming on computational thinking through different output modalities

L.J.A. Fanchamps*, Lou Slangen, M.M. Specht, Paul Hennissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The application of sense-reason-act (SRA) programming in contemporary education can ensure the development of computational thinking (CT) at a more advanced level. SRA-programming has been identified as an instrumental way of thinking for learning to program robots and encourages the development of the more complex concepts of programming. Visual programming environments are diverse in appearance and prove to be an excellent way to teach pupils the basic ideas of programming. It is important to investigate whether the type of output has a characteristic influence on the level of development of CT in visual programming environments. In this research, we therefore explore whether characteristic differences in the development of CT can be measured when SRA-programming is applied in a visual programming environment with an on-screen output or a tangible output. It was expected that the observed effect of pupils' programming actions through the application of SRA would show that the type of output influences the understanding of complex programming concepts at a higher level. Our results indicate that SRA-programming with visual, on-screen output yields a significant increase in the development of CT, as opposed to SRA-programming with a tangible output. The development of complex programming concepts can also be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-462
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Computers in Education
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Computational thinking
  • SRA-programming
  • Tangible output
  • Visual output
  • Visual programming


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