Process models are used by information professionals to convey semantics about the business operations in a real world domain intended to be supported by an information system. The understandability of these models is vital to them actually being used. After all, what is not understood cannot be acted upon. Yet until now, understandability has primarily been defined as an intrinsic quality of the models themselves. Moreover, those studies that looked at understandability from a user perspective have mainly conceptualized users through rather arbitrary sets of variables. In this paper we advance an integrative framework to understand the role of the user in the process of understanding process models. Building on cognitive psychology, goal-setting theory and multimedia learning theory, we identify three stages of learning required to realize model understanding, these being Presage, Process, and Product. We define eight relevant user characteristics in the Presage stage of learning, three knowledge construction variables in the Process stage and three potential learning outcomes in the Product stage. To illustrate the benefits of the framework, we review existing process modeling work to identify where our framework can complement and extend existing studies.