Resource Release - Literature-based Learning Trajectories: Sequence, Repetition, Conditionals

August 16, 2017

The LTEC team is pleased to announce the release of our third public resource and first family of Learning Trajectories - the culmination of two years of work. These are being presented at ICER 2017 in Tacoma, WA in the paper K-8 Learning Trajectories Derived from Research Literature: Sequence, Repetition, Conditionals.

Our primary purpose in creating these learning trajectories is to help inform future curricular development by providing insight into possible content and orderings for major computer science / computational thinking topics. Learning trajectories have three components: An overarching learning goal, a partially ordered list of waypoints that suggest a path to the learning goal, and a set of activities that help students move along the path1.

Several steps were involved in creating these first three learning trajectories (more will be released as they are published). We began with a collection of articles now listed on our Resources page. For more information about navigating this collection, see our first Resource Release post. We extracted learning goals from literature and categorized them, as described more fully in our SIGCSE ‘17 paper, A Literature Review through the Lens of Computer Science Learning Goals Theorized and Explored in Research. We do not distinguish between waypoints and learning goals since they were all extracted from literature. Finally, we coalesced similar goals into consensus goals and created an ordering based on a combination of literature support and several heuristics described in our ICER ‘17 paper.

To see the learning trajectories, open the provided visualization tool. This tool provides a complete illustration of the Sequence, Repetition, and Conditionals trajectories. At the top of the page, there are several buttons with varying functionality. Clicking through these buttons will hide and show different subsets of information of the trajectories. For example, clicking the Beginning button will only show the nodes with “Beginner” difficulty, whereas clicking Advanced will reveal all nodes with difficulty up to and including “Advanced” difficulty. Clicking through each view button will reveal the Summary, Understanding, and Action goals of each node. Right clicking on a node provides a link to a list of the learning goals pertinent to the individual node. Right clicking on an arrow provides a link to the summary of an example activity, which would help students move from one node to another. Finally, we included a toolbar, with links to each of the different trajectories at the top right. We hope you find this tool useful. Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments about how we could improve it.

These initial versions of the Sequence, Repetition, and Conditionals learning trajectories were created using a specific method combining information from the literature and heuristics to determine orderings in the absence of guidance from literature. We are beginning a second phase in which we are seeking feedback from professionals in Computer Science education. If you would like to leave feedback on the content of the trajectories, please first read the ICER paper, explore with our tool, then fill out our LT Feedback Survey.


  1. Clements, D. H., & Sarama, J. (2004). Learning trajectories in mathematics education. Mathematical thinking and learning, 6(2), 81-89.