Students Learn Without Lectures: Scaffolded Problem-Based Learning in an Applied Fluid Flow and Heat Transfer Course


  • Polly Piergiovanni Lafayette College


During active learning exercises, students are engaged in their own learning. As a result understanding and retention generally increase. This paper describes a class in which two major concepts were taught in modules where several forms of active learning were combined. Descriptions of the activities are included in the paper. Student learning was assessed through the projects and exams. There was no statistically significant difference in these students’ scores compared with students who had been taught the material in a traditional classroom by the same instructor.

Author Biography

Polly Piergiovanni, Lafayette College

Polly Piergiovanni is professor of chemical engineering at Lafayette College, and has taught many of the courses in the chemical engineering core. She enjoys developing learning activities to help students understand the concepts, using simple devices and materials widely available, and assessing the gains in understanding.