Journal of Information Systems Education


A class diagram is one of the most important diagrams of Unified Modeling Language (UML) and can be used for modeling the static structure of a software system. Learning from errors is a teaching approach based on the assumption that errors can promote learning. We applied a constructive approach of using errors in designing a UML class diagram in order to (a) categorize the students’ errors when they design a class diagram from a text scenario that describes a specific organization and (b) determine whether the learning-from-errors approach enables students to produce more accurate and correct diagrams. The research was conducted with college students (N = 45) studying for their bachelor’s degree in engineering. The approach is presented, and the learning-from-errors activity is illustrated. We present the students’ errors in designing the class diagram before and after the activity, together with the students’ opinions about applying the new approach in their course. Twenty errors in fundamental components of the class diagram design were observed. The students erred less after the activity of learning from errors. The displayed results show the relevance and potential of embedding our approach in teaching. Furthermore, the students viewed the learning-from-errors activity favorably. Thus, one of the benefits of our developed activity is increased student motivation. In light of the improved performance of the task, and the students’ responses to the learning-from-errors approach, we recommend that information systems teachers use similar activities in different fields and on various topics.



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