An Alternative Technique to Improve IS/IT Students' Learning of Database Normalization

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Journal of Informatics Education Research


The teaching of database normalization is often based on the definition of normal forms. However; this approach may not be the best way to help IS/IT students effectively understand the database normalization process. This paper proposes an alternative technique to be used as a supplement to the traditional technique of teaching database normalization. The alternative technique uses functional dependencies to normalize database schemas. The paper empirically compares student performance on different normalization exercises in which students were instructed either to use the traditional normalization technique or the alternative technique. It reports a positive correlation between the techniques used and mean exercise scores. It also shows that students seem to retain their ability to normalize tables.