Challenges in learning unified modeling language : From the perspective of diagrammatic representation and reasoning

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number30
Pages (from-to)545-565
Journal / PublicationCommunications of the Association for Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


Unified modeling language (UML) is widely taught in the information systems (IS) curriculum. To understand UML in IS education, this paper reports on an empirical study that taps into students’ learning of UML. The study uses a concept-mapping technique to identify the challenges in learning UML notational elements. It reveals that some technical properties of UML diagrammatic representation, coupled with students’ cognitive attributes, hinder both perceptual and conceptual processes involved in searching, recognizing, and inferring visual information, which creates learning barriers. This paper also discusses how to facilitate perceptual and conceptual processes in instruction to overcome learning challenges. The study provides valuable insights for the IS educators, the UML academic community, and practitioners.

Research Area(s)

  • Concept mapping, Diagrammatic reasoning, Diagrammatic representation, Learning challenges, UML

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