Making A Chemical Process Control Course an Inductive and Deductive Learning Experience


  • David L. Silverstein University of Kentucky
  • Gifty Osei-Prempeh University of Kentucky


The preponderance of the evidence from the engineering education literature demonstrates that inductive teaching methods are more effective than deductive approaches. When students are already familiar with the fundamentals of a topic, however, deductive approaches may make more sense. This paper discusses the implementation of a combination of inductive and deductive laboratory exercises in senior-level process control course at the University of Kentucky Extended Campus Programs in Paducah, Kentucky. Several inductive laboratory experiments in process control are integrated into the course to enable students to make observations, draw conclusions, and establish relationships for specific cases. During subsequent lecture periods students formulate the observations they make into general relationships, many of which they later test in the laboratory when performing additional deductive exercises. Students in this course indicated an overall preference for deductive laboratory exercises, while subjective instructor assessment indicated improved learning from inductive exercises. Suggestions for successfully incorporating inductive process control experiments are provided.

Author Biographies

David L. Silverstein, University of Kentucky

David L. Silverstein is currently the PJC Engineering Professor and an associate professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering Extended Campus Programs in Paducah. He received his B.S.Ch.E. from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa; his M.S. and Ph.D in chemical engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville; and has been a registered P.E. since 2002.

Gifty Osei-Prempeh, University of Kentucky

Gifty Osei-Prempeh currently holds a postdoctoral position in Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. Gifty received her B.S.Ch. E. from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; M.S.Ch.E. from the North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, N.C., and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.