Encouraging concept linking in chemical engineering

Start date

01 June 2021

End date

31 October 2021


Credit-based, modular curriculum structures are common in UK universities. While this has many benefits, this approach also has the potential to lead to fragmentation of the learning experience, with the possibility of weakened learning outcomes and students who cannot link concepts taught in different modules.

This can cause difficulties in learning, especially in chemical engineering, where a deep understanding of many preceding modules is necessary to achieve the learning outcomes of more advanced modules. Consequently, deficiencies in the skills needed upon graduation to secure employment are also possible. To address this, the project will develop self-directed learning activities for implementation alongside year one chemical engineering modules, to encourage concept linking.

Aims and objectives

The aim of this project is to encourage undergraduate students to develop a greater understanding and better links between the concepts covered in modules throughout the chemical engineering degree course.

To do this, a novel “mastery” module will be developed and implemented to run alongside taught chemical engineering modules. It will contain self-directed learning activities which are designed to identify and link together key threshold concepts introduced in assessed modules. Initially, these activities will be developed for year one learning, and if successful the project will continue to develop additional material to supplement the whole chemical engineering degree.

Funding amount




Research assistants

Muzammal Rana and Auwal Yunusa, both undergraduate chemical engineers, are working on the project as research assistants.

Associated research groups and centres

Engineering and Physical Sciences Education Network

Research themes

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