A Systematic Review of Social Constructivist Pedagogies in Computing and their Effects on Broadening Participation for Women in Undergraduate Computing (Research) Conference

Batten, JS, Ross, MS. (2021). A Systematic Review of Social Constructivist Pedagogies in Computing and their Effects on Broadening Participation for Women in Undergraduate Computing (Research) .

cited authors

  • Batten, JS; Ross, MS

fiu authors


  • The necessity for computing professionals has underlined the underrepresentation of minoritized women, including African American or Black, Hispanic or Latina/Latinx, and Native American or American Indian women. Therefore, the computing education research community (CER) have explored pedagogies to improve computing students' learning outcomes based on existing learning theories. Few studies have reviewed pedagogies in the context of social constructivism. Social constructivism is a learning theory defined as the collaborative co-construction of knowledge. Social constructivist pedagogies have enhanced learning outcomes for minoritized women in other STEM fields, but their effects have not been studied extensively in CER. We reference intersectionality theory to guide our search around gender/race/ethnicity, critique the literature, and identify future areas of research. Therefore, this paper presents a systematic literature review to investigate social constructivist pedagogies employed within CER. This review seeks to answer the following questions: 1) Which social constructivist computing pedagogies affect the learning experiences of undergraduate women, specifically at the intersection of gender/race/ethnicity? 2) What is the relationship between different types of social constructivist computing pedagogies and undergraduate women's learning outcomes, retention, and persistence, specifically at the intersection of gender/race/ethnicity? This study utilizes Szabo's taxonomy, created for categorizing CER interventions, to guide our search around pedagogical types. We pick classifications from this taxonomy that align with principles of social constructivism to create inclusion criteria. Specifically, this review considers social constructivist pedagogies in CER as: peer-led team learning (PLTL), process-oriented guided-inquiry (POGIL), pair programming, contributing student pedagogy, project-based learning, peer instruction, team-based learning, and flipped learning or flipped classrooms. The results are from the selected 14 out of 710 papers found in the ACM Digital Library. Only 5 of the 14 papers reviewed provided race/ethnicity data and/or disaggregated their findings based on these subgroups, meaning a majority of our findings are related only to gender. Our results found that PLTL may show promise for improving “soft skills,” sense of belonging, and learning experiences for peer leaders and female CS students. Additionally, pair programming and peer instruction may be viable practices that will help benefit women in computing with regards to learning experiences and learning outcomes, but not their retention or persistence. Highly collaborative course offerings, such as flipped classrooms and “trio of best practices” classrooms, were shown to improve learning experiences, learning outcomes, retention, and persistence of minoritized women in computing. Future research is still needed around pedagogical impacts on individual intersections such as Black women, Latina women, and Native American women. Additionally, future quantitative studies should provide demographic data and disaggregate on intersectional subgroups to further analyze pedagogical impacts individually, as most studies in this review only considered gender.

publication date

  • July 26, 2021