Programming Substrates to Create Interactive Learning Environments

Alexander Repenning
Department of Computer Science
Campus Box 430
University of Colorado, Boulder CO 80309 303 492-1349,


The design of an effective interactive learning environment requires understanding the intricate relationships among people, tools, and problems. Many end-users do not have the necessary skills, nor the time or patience to compose programs from computer science-sanctioned programming primitives. End-users require environments that elevate the task of programming to the manipulation of components that are directly pertinent to the problems to be solved. This paper introduces the Agentsheets programming substrate employed by designers to create interactive learning environments that are geared toward end-users solving specific problems. A number of educational and industrial applications are used to illustrate the design and use of Agentsheets environments in domains such as art, artificial life, environmental design, games, kitchen design, and visual programming.