Pedagogical Prisms: Toward Domain Isomorphic Analogy Design for Relevance and Engagement in Computing Education

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Analogy is a frequently leveraged pedagogical tool used across many disciplines, with computing being no exception. Computing education researchers, however, have raised concerns regarding the limitations of analogy. One obvious concern is the relevance of any given analogy to learners. Designing relevant analogies can greatly increase student engagement with the problem space by centering examples on their lived experiences. Relevant analogies can also facilitate learners in building appropriate connections as they explore novel concepts. Designing relevant analogies is an ongoing process which requires understanding the learners' context. It is unlikely that any given analogy will be "universally"relevant across learners, problems, and decades. This poses an interesting problem for instructors: how can we adapt analogies to learners so that they are engaging and relevant, while maintaining the desired pedagogical value? This position paper presents a framework for analogical design in computing education. We leverage what is described here as domain isomorphism: the ability to modify the domain in which an analogy is based while still maintaining the intended analogical structure. Through this design approach, we suggest that instructors and researchers may confidently, and in a timely fashion, redesign analogies to be relevant and engaging for a given group of learners.

Publication Title

Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE