Inquiry Guided Learning in a Chemical Engineering Core Curriculum: General Instructional Approach and Specific Application to the Fluid Mechanics Case Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2014 TEMPUS Publications. This paper presents results from a preliminary study of the effectiveness of using inquiry-guided learning instructional strategies both in chemical engineering classrooms and laboratories. For readers unfamiliar with the instructional strategy, the paper describes the general approach and then reports on results of its application for the fluid mechanics course taken by undergraduate students in the Chemical Engineering Department at Qatar University. Inquiry-guided activities were developed after a series of interviews with recent chemical engineering graduates and employers to gather data on difficulties of chemical engineering graduates during the transition period from the university to industry. Some common daily problems were gathered, discussed, listed and used to formulate in an inquiry guided activity structure. Students were asked to participate in a role-play approach in which client-contractor relationship and rules of engagements were simulated. Both laboratory projects and in-class inquiry guided approach were conducted. Student performance and ability to approach conceptual problems and design-related issues were monitored and graded. Assessments were done after initial coverage of fundamentals of fluid mechanics (8 weeks into the course). Activities promoted in-class engagement and student performance was observed to enhance student performance and engagement to subject when compared to years at which the inquiry teaching methods were not used. This observation is observed to be valid for both with respect to conceptual approaches as well as design-related issues in the early stages of chemical engineering education.

author list (cited authors)

  • Atilhan, M., Eljack, F., Alfadala, H., Froyd, J. E., El-Halwagi, M., & Mahalec, V.

publication date

  • January 2014