The focus of this paper is adult learning, with
regard to understanding how adults learn computer programming. Some computing students learning programming for the first time often have ineffective mental models for how a program operates and they fail to transfer their programming knowledge beyond what is taught. They lack appropriate cognitive skills that are a prerequisite to learning computer programming, and
have a mental block when it comes to understanding the abstract constructs involved. This can cause the students
to become anxious, or even fear programming. As performance is negatively affected by anxiety, this consequently impacts on their academic performance.
This paper explores programming anxiety and the construction of mental schemas necessary for learning computer programming.