Studies indicate that understanding the contexts in which design patterns are to be used is one of the most (if not the most) difficult challenge in applying design patterns, yet little research on the topic attempts to solve the problem of better teaching the contexts. This paper discusses a new paradigm through which the teaching of design patterns can be viewed, one which focuses on conceptual examples and contexts as the key elements in teaching design patterns. We created several multimedia learning modules that use this approach and we evaluated the modules by comparing them to other methods of instruction in junior-level software engineering courses. The context-oriented modules performed better (or at least not significantly worse) than traditional lectures on virtually all metrics, and the videos are easily deployable, making them ideal for uses like distance learning, and they can save valuable instruction hours for professors.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/djanzen/23/