Research Project

TOOL – A web browser-based modeling tool and research observatory

Headed by:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Strecker
Sven Christ, M.Sc.
Philip Winkler, M.Sc.
Project Status:
Prof. Dr. Kristina Rosenthal

Research on TOOL started in 2014 by Prof. Strecker. Benjamin Ternes, M.Sc. was the lead developer from 2014 to 2022 and developed most of the present TOOL source code, and collaborated with more than 50 students on code development subprojects. Starting in 2019, we consider TOOL production-ready for teaching and research purposes. Currently, we work on a revision of the graphical editor for BPMN diagrams, and on improving our NLP-based learning support component.

Nutzen Sie TOOL!

Mit TOOL erstellen Sie konzeptuelle Datenmodelle und Geschäftsprozessmodelle im Webbrowser. TOOL unterstützt das Modellieren und Modellieren lernen durch Lernen im Modell und Lernen am Modell. TOOL ist gleichzeitig ein Forschungsobservatorium zur Untersuchung u.a. von Modellierungsschwierigkeiten und Lernbarrieren. TOOL ist Ergebnis mehrjähriger Forschung und Entwicklung und weiter Gegenstand laufender Forschungsprojekte (Forschungspublikationen zu TOOL; Themen für Abschlussarbeiten zu TOOL). TOOL steht allen Studierenden und Mitarbeitenden der FernUniversität unter zur Verfügung (VPN-Verbindung erforderlich).

Nehmen Sie an unseren Studien zu TOOL teil!

Nehmen Sie an unseren laufenden Studien zu Modellierungsprozessen konzeptuellen Modellierens teil - wir suchen Studienteilnehmerinnen und -teilnehmer für Online-Studien (virtuell per Zoom) und für Präsenzstudien. Wir freuen uns über Ihr Interesse – kontaktieren Sie uns unverbindlich per E-Mail: tool

What is TOOL, really?

In a nutshell, TOOL is a web application with a JavaScript-driven user interface (Web-browser-based frontend) and a Java EE (Enterprise Edition)-based server backend. Presently, TOOL implements two graphical modeling editors: (1) An editor for a variant of the Entity-Relationship Model (ERM) for data modeling and (2) an editor for a subset of the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) for business process modeling. For supporting modelers in general as well as learners of conceptual modeling in particular, the TOOL prototype implements an ad-hoc syntax validation to point to modeling errors as well as a feedback component to guide the modeling process by making recommendations for sensible and adequate labels based on Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques.

TOOL is not only a graphical modeling tool designed to make modeling processes more productive. For studying individual modeling processes both under laboratory conditions as well as in online settings, TOOL implements multi-modal observation and data generation techniques complementing different modes of observation of individual modeling processes. Currently, TOOL allows for (1) tracking modeler-tool interactions as timed-discrete events for visualizing modeling processes as heatmaps, dot diagrams, and to allow for stepwise replays of those interactions individually and in comparison with other modelers’ tracked interactions, (2) recording verbal data protocols of modeler’s thinking out loud following the tenets of think aloud research methods (including remotely in online studies), and (3) pre- and post-modeling surveying of studied subjects, e. g. about their prior modeling experience.

TOOL has been applied to both teaching and learning conceptual modeling, e.g., in university courses as well as to research studies on individual modeling processes, e.g., at the University of Hagen, the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

ER 2020 Best Paper Award in the Demo & Tool Category Photo:

TOOL – A Modeling Observatory & Tool for Studying Individual Modeling Processes by Benjamin Ternes, Kristina Rosenthal, Stefan Strecker and Julian Bartels

ER 2020 Best Paper Award in the Demo & Tool Category
Photo: (c) FernUniversität in Hagen
Exemplary construction of a data model using the Entity-Relationship Model in TOOL.



Lehrstuhl EvIS | 08.04.2024