Right menu

APOSDLE - work, learn, collaborate

Integrated Modelling Methodology Version 1

This document describes the APOSDLE Integrated Modelling Methodology. This methodology, developed within the APOSDLE project, guides the process of creation of the application domain dependent parts of the APOSDLE Knowledge Base. The APOSDLE Knowledge Base provides the basis for reasoning within the APOSDLE System.

The methodology consists of five distinct phases, which cover the entire process of model creation, from the initial selection of the application domain, to its informal, and then formal, specification, and finally to the validation and revision of the final Knowledge Base:

    • Phase 0. Scope & Boundaries. In this phase the scope and boundaries of the application domain are determined and documented. The first step of this phase was to use questionnaires to elicit the main tasks and learning needs of the different Application Partners in order to identify candidate application domains for learning (also called learning domains). The candidate application domains were then discussed and the final domain was decided upon, and briefly documented. The key aspect of this phase is to support the Application Partners to identify a learning domain appropriate for the "learn @ work" approach taken by APOSDLE.
    • Phase 1. Knowledge Acquisition. The goal of this phase is the acquisition of knowledge about the application domains that have to be formalised and integrated in the APOSDLE knowledge base. The proposed methodology aims to extract as much knowledge as possible from both Domain Experts and available digital resources identified by the Application Partners. The elicitation of knowledge from Domain Experts is based on well known techniques like interviews, card sorting and laddering, already introduced in literature, while the extraction of knowledge from digital resources is based on algorithms and tools for term extraction described in (Pammer, Schier, & Lindstaedt, 2007). The key aspect of this phase is twofold: first, the methodology has to support an effective and rapid knowledge acquisition from Domain Experts, who are often rarely available and scarcely motivated towards modelling; second the methodology has to ease the process of modelling by reusing knowledge already present in digital format in the organisation.
    • Phase 2. Informal Modelling. The goal of this phase is to start from the knowledge elicited in Phase 1 and provide an informal but structured and rather complete description of the different models which will constitute the APOSDLE knowledge base. These models concern (i) the processes and tasks a user can perform in the organisation, (ii) the specific domain of affaires (application domain) a user want to learn about with APOSDLE, and (iii) the learning goals a user can have in the organisation inside the specific domain of affaires. The descriptions of the informal models are obtaining by filling pre-defined templates provided in a Semantic Wiki. The use of a Semantic Wiki allows to describe the elements of the different models in an informal manner using the Natural Language. However, at the same time it allows to structure the descriptions so that they can be easily (and often automatically) translated in formal models, without forcing the Application Partners to become experts in the formal languages used to produce the formal models. The key aspect of the informal modelling is to provide the Application Partners with tools that support informal modelling and thus hide the complexity of formal languages but at the same time are not mere textual editors and provide some typical facilities of modelling tools, such as the possibility to have a (possibly graphical) overview of the entire model.
    • Phase 3. Formal Modelling and Integration. In this phase the informal descriptions of the task model and of the domain model are transformed in formal models. The current version of the methodology supports the automatic translation of the domain model in an OWL ontology, and a manual translation of the task model in a YAWL workflow. Additionally, the information about the learning goals contained in the informal models is automatically extracted and used by the Task And Competency Tool (TACT for short), to help the Application Partners to formally specify learning goals. The output of this phase is a first version of the APOSDLE Knowledge Base. The key aspect of this phase is to ease the transformation from informal to formal as much as possible to avoid duplication of work and to make full use of the rich informal models produced during phase 2.
    • Phase 4. Validation & Revision. In this phase the APOSDLE Knowledge Base is evaluated and possibly revised. The current version of the methodology provides the support for checking automatically, via SPARQL queries, different aspects (properties) of the APOSDLE knowledge base and of its single components. The results of these check are evaluated and used to revise the knowledge base, if needed. The key aspects of this phase are first to provide an accurate set of tests for the APSODLE knowledge base, and second to allow the Domain Experts to validate the models obtained. This second aspect is particularly challenging as the Domain Experts usually are not familiar with formal models.

This methodology has been accurately followed by the Application Partners to build their specific APOSDLE Knowledge Base.