Be Constructive: Learning Computational Thinking Using Scratch™ Online Community

  • Bushra Chowdhury
  • Aditya JohriEmail author
  • Dennis Kafura
  • Vinod Lohani
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11841)


Online learning communities are predicated on the assumption that social interaction among participants will lead to learning. Yet, research has shown that not all interactions result in learning and that there is a need to develop a more nuanced understanding of the nature of activities in online communities and their relationship with learning. We analyzed data from the Scratch™ online learning community, a platform designed to teach Computational Thinking (CT) through block-based activities, using the Differentiated Overt Learning Activities (DOLA) framework to assess learning. We found that users who engaged in constructive activities demonstrated higher learning, as illustrated by the complexity of their contributions, compared to users who were merely active on the platform. We compared users across two sub-communities within Scratch and found that participation and contributions across the two domains resulted in different learning outcomes, showcasing the effect of context on learning within online communities.


Online community Computational thinking Informal learning Collaborative learning Scratch 



This work is supported in part by U.S. National Science Foundation Awards #142444, 1408674, & 1712129 (PI: Johri) and Award#1624320 (PI: Kafura). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies. We thank Ben Gelman for his support with the data collection and analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bushra Chowdhury
    • 1
  • Aditya Johri
    • 2
    Email author
  • Dennis Kafura
    • 1
  • Vinod Lohani
    • 1
  1. 1.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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