Since cognitive load came up in the other thread about numberFormat, some of you may find this paper very interesting:

Using Cognitive Load Theory to select an Environment for Teaching
Mobile Apps Development

Raina Mason, Southern Cross University
Graham Cooper, Southern Cross University
Simon, University of Newcastle
Barry Wilks, Southern Cross University

After considering a number of environments for the development of apps for mobile devices, we have evaluated five in terms of their suitability for students early in their programing study. For some of the evaluation we devised an evaluation scheme based on the principles of cognitive load theory to assess the relative ease or difficulty of learning and using each environment. After briefly presenting the scheme, we discuss our results, including our findings about which mobile apps development environments appear to show most promise for early-level programming students.

The computed averages are as follows:

TouchDevelop: 16%
LiveCode: 17%
App Inventor: 33%
Xamarin: 59%
Visual Studio: 65%
The mobile development environments that we evaluated fell clearly into three groups. TouchDevelop and LiveCode, with threshold scores of less than 20%, permitted the development of code with the least relative cognitive load. Despite the fact that it was designed for, and is typically used for, novice programmers, App Inventor had double the threshold score of these two environments, indicating a substantially higher relative cognitive load. Both Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio had threshold scores of around 60%, nearly double again, indicating another substantial leap in the relative cognitive load required to develop mobile apps in these environments.


 Richard Gaskin
 Fourth World Systems
 Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web

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