This study investigated the effect of inquiry-based instruction in technical undergraduate education. Specifically, the effect was measured along two dimensions: 1) the effect on student learning and, 2) student attitude towards subject matter. The researcher designed an inquiry-based instructional approach to encourage interaction between teacher and students and to help students take more responsibility for their learning. Three technical undergraduate classes participated in the study. Each class was divided into experimental and control groups. For the experimental group, a twice-a-week traditional lecture was replaced with a once-a-week inquiry-based question and answer session. Students in the control group were taught as normal, by a traditional style lecture. Students in the experimental group were expected to use the extra hour, gained by meeting only once once-a-week, to study and prepare. Both groups were administered pre- and post- tests to determine the learning that took place during the experimental intervention. Pre- and post- surveys were also administered to assess the effect of the inquiry-based instruction on student attitude. Additionally, scores from student exams, professor surveys, and researcher observations were used to collect data and understand the effect of the instructional approach. The findings suggest that inquiry-based learning in technical classes can have a positive effect on learning and attitude.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





inquiry-based learning, active learning, student teacher interaction

Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)