The Repercussions of Business Process Modeling Notations on Mental Load and Mental Effort

Universität Ulm

Presentation at the International Workshop Series on Business Process Management and Social Software;

Michael Zimoch, Sydney, Australien, 10 September 2018, 10:00 AM

Over the last decade, plenty business process modeling notations emerged for the documentation of business processes in enterprises. During the learning of a modeling notation, an individual is confronted with a cognitive load that has an impact on the comprehension of a notation with its underlying formalisms and concepts. To address the cognitive load, this paper presents the results from an exploratory study, in which a sample of 94 participants, divided into novices, intermediates, and experts, needed to assess process models expressed in terms of eight different process modeling notations, i.e., BPMN 2.0, Declarative Process Modeling, eGantt Charts, EPCs, Flow Charts, IDEF3, Petri Nets, and UML Activity Diagrams. The study focus was set on the subjective comprehensibility and accessibility of process models reflecting participant's cognitive load (i.e., mental load and mental effort). Based on the cognitive load, a factor reflecting the mental difficulty for comprehending process models in different modeling notations was derived. The results indicate that established modeling notations from industry (e.g., BPMN) should be the first choice for enterprises when striving for process management. Moreover, study insights may be used to determine which modeling notations should be taught for an introduction in process modeling or which notation is useful to teach and train process modelers or analysts.