oa Alternation - An Analysis of learning difficulties experienced by first time spreadsheet users

Volume 12 Number 1b
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Spreadsheets have become a routine application in most organizations and universities. Consequently, students are required to learn spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Excel. The learning of spreadsheets is often accompanied by problems related to spreadsheet applications and their mathematical content. The EXITS (Excel Intelligent Tutoring System) research project aims to develop a Microsoft Excel tutor that helps students to overcome their learning difficulties. The paper reports on the first phase of our EXITS research project. We firstly identify barriers that may prevent a student from successfully using a spreadsheet program. We then analyse the different types of errors students make and identify their causes. We also classify the errors. This classification will form the basis for an error library that is required for our student model. At the end of the paper we give an example of how our model will be used for student modelling purposes.

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