A promising approach is problem-based learning. It is being refined in the European project IMPULSE on advanced process design. In contrast to first-principles derivations of equations, short descriptions of puzzling observations are the starting point:
- Why does a heterogeneous catalytic reaction display an Arrhenius plot with two different slopes, one exactly half as high as the other?
- Why does a second nitration follow the first one in an aromatic substitution, while electron-density arguments predict it should not occur?
- How does a severely cooled semi-batch synthesis transfer into a reasonable continuous production?
Problems like these are solved in class, ideally supported by a laboratory course and/or exercises. Feedback is clearly positive, as the practical relevance of transport phenomena for chemistry is instantaneously obvious.