What are the differences between group and individual modeling when learning UML?

Williamson Silva, Bruno Gadelha, Igor Steinmacher, Tayana Conte

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a widely used modeling language in the software industry. However, students face difficulties while learning how to model complete and correct UML diagrams. In order to minimize these difficulties, educators perform individual and/or group modeling activities during class. Despite the importance of this problem, there are few experience reports comparing students' performance on these two forms of practicing modeling exercises in the classroom. In this context, this paper describes an empirical study aiming to compare the effects of modeling exercises carried out individually and in group. We evaluated the correctness and completeness of the UML diagrams and use case specification produced by the students and their perceptions about both forms of organization. The results showed that although the students presented difficulties in understanding the syntax, they modeled the use case specification and the class diagram more correctly individually. On the other hand, the students modeled the diagram and use case specification, and the sequence diagram more completely in group. Differently from what we expected, these results suggest that if the instructor's goal is for students to learn to design more correct and complete models, performing group activities not always show more positive learning outcomes. Instead, in some cases, individual modeling is likely to yield better results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCBSOFT 2018 - Proceedings of the 32nd Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering, SBES 2018
EditorsThiago Gottardi
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450365031
StatePublished - Sep 17 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event32nd Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering, SBES 2018 - Sao Carlos, Brazil
Duration: Sep 17 2018Sep 21 2018

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference32nd Brazilian Symposium on Software Engineering, SBES 2018
CitySao Carlos


  • Collaborative modeling
  • Empirical study
  • Individual modeling
  • Software modeling education
  • Teaching UML

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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