viSQLizer: Using visualization for learning SQL

  • Kristin Annabel Torjussen Folland NTNU


Structured Query Language (SQL) is used for interaction between database technology and its users. In higher education, students often struggle with understanding the underlying logic of SQL, thus have trouble with understanding how and why a result table is created from a query. A prototype of a visual learning tool for SQL, viSQLizer, has been developed to determine if visualizations could help students create a mental model and thus enhance their understanding of the underlying logic of SQL. Trough the use of animations and decomposing, our results indicate that visualizations might give students a better understanding of the underlying logic, and that students gain the same learning outcome through visualizations as when using an online tutorial with explanatory text and exercises. Feedback from both professors and students from conducted interviews and experiments indicate that the tool could be used by professors as a visualization tool in lectures, and by students as a practical tool; not as a replacement of, but as an addition to traditional teaching methods.
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