Application of case study material in undergraduate learning
Kerin, Trish
Pollock, Michaela
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How to Cite

Kerin T., Pollock M., 2019, Application of case study material in undergraduate learning, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 77, 385-390.
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When we review a case study it can be very tempting to judge the actions of the people involved with the benefit of hindsight. Because we know the outcome, it seems obvious what decisions led there. This hindsight inhibits our ability to learn from the event because we fall into the trap of justifying why we would not make the same decision. To counter this, the IChemE Safety Centre started to develop some case studies that try to minimise hindsight bias. These case studies were developed with a non-technical workforce audience in mind, and have been successfully employed in a variety of industrial and commercial settings containing wide-ranging audiences. Furthermore, this has enabled them to be utilised at universities to impart process safety knowledge at an early stage in undergraduate studies and bring a realistic industrial setting into an academic environment. University College London is one such university, where they have adapted the case studies to gain other additional insights and support learning outcomes of introductory safety courses given to second year undergraduates who are still developing their core chemical engineering knowledge and have had limited exposure to industrial settings. This paper will explore the basis for the case study development and they key requirements to reduce hindsight bias. It will then explain different options for how they can be used in an educational setting to give students the experience of a process safety incident as well as an understanding of the varying demands on a worker in an operational facility. Reflections upon how the case studies have already been used in academia and some suggestions on further ways in which the case studies can be used in an academic setting are made. Finally, some recommendations for additional support material that could be developed by the IChemE Safety Center to further encourage the use of the case studies in academia are made.
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